Gov. Chris Christie called on the state Legislature to pass a tax cut in a special session on Monday, saying it would create jobs.
However, legislative Democrats rejected the call, saying the state must first reach the governor's revenue projections.
The special session was held on the same day that Christie issued a conditional veto of a tax on residents with more than $1 million in income. He replaced that tax plan with one based on a proposal by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-West Deptford).
"There is one great thing left to do," Christie said. "Lock in tax relief today to create new jobs for the people of New Jersey."
Christie asked the Legislature whether it would "act today to guarantee a summer of tax relief."
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-East Orange) said after Christie's speech that without meeting revenue targets, "we will find ourselves in a situation where we will not have enough revenue to meet" constitutionally mandated spending. She added that Assembly Democrats never embraced the Senate Democratic tax proposal.
Sweeney noted that the tax cut that Christie wants wouldn't occur until next year, leaving time for a tax cut if the state meets revenue targets.
Christie accused the Democrats of making spending a higher priority than lower taxes.
"If my revenue projections were good enough for your spending, why are they not good enough for the people's tax cut?" Christie said. "This makes no sense to me, and I can assure you it will make no sense to the taxpayers of New Jersey."
Both Christie and Democratic legislators accused the other side of playing politics. Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said Christie doesn't believe his own revenue projections.
"He doesn't want to have a conversation about what it really takes to solve the problem," Greenwald said.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon M. Bramnick (R-Westfield) and other Assembly Republicans expressed disappointment that the Legislature didn't hold a vote on Monday on Christie's proposal. "I guess they didn't want a vote on the Democratic tax plan," Bramnick said.
Bramnick also questioned the propriety of how the session was conducted. Sweeney introduced Christie without taking a vote to establish that a quorum was present, which Bramnick said was unprecedented in his experience.