Partisan sniping no excuse to hide revenue numbers
There was plenty of good news for business in the latest flurry of bill signings Chris Christie completed late last month. The biggest, of course, were the signing of the Permit Extension Act, which extends approvals for development projects through 2014, and the veto of the fracking ban, which should help keep down natural gas prices for business.
One of the more surprising vetoes, though, has to be the one that accompanied A-2885/S-2095, the measure that would have required monthly revenue reports be sent to the Legislature. The bill had bipartisan support, and was built off an executive order the governor signed early in his tenure, so it seemed like a sure bet — but Christie wants a $10,000 fine attached, to penalize unauthorized leaks of the economic news.
Naturally, the governor’s feeling a bit defensive. It’s tough to tout a “Jersey Comeback” and push for an across-the-board income tax cut when each month’s numbers paint an increasingly dismal picture, and are immediately followed by one or more credit agencies deciding New Jersey’s financials are roughly as stable as the San Andreas Fault. But this is ridiculous. He’s been late with the numbers in the last two months already, which just gives Barbara Buono something to write a press release about; if he’s going to sit on those numbers because they’re disappointing, he can’t look surprised when Democrats, whom he’s beaten with a stick since taking office, race to get them to the press.
We hope the numbers start to turn around, but until then, it would be nice if Christie could swallow his pride and release them on schedule. And it also would be nice if his critics in the Legislature could do a better job of masking their glee when the trend doesn’t reverse itself. That kind of partisan one-upsmanship ensures the state will continue to lag the nation as the recovery’s excruciatingly slow pace continues.