Republican Governor Chris Christie, entering the second half of his first term, remains at record- high approval ratings among New Jersey voters as he presses lawmakers for a 10 percent income-tax cut, a survey shows.
The governor has the state “headed in the right direction,” say 51 percent in a survey released today, a 10- year high, according to Peter Woolley, the Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll director. Christie’s job performance won approval from 54 percent of the registered voters questioned, up from 53 percent in January and matching a record in September.
“He probably should hold up a champagne glass and make a toast -- these are really good numbers,” Woolley said by telephone. “It’s really amazing when you consider that these sustained approval ratings have been through dramatic budget times, cuts at all levels and in a state where Republicans hold a distinct minority.”
The governor’s approval rating has dropped each year since he took office in January 2010 coincident with the start of annual debates over taxes and spending, according to previous polls from the school in Madison, New Jersey. Lawmakers are set to begin debating his $32.1 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts in July.
Christie’s fiscal 2013 spending plan, introduced Feb. 21, counts on a 7.3 percent gain in tax revenue, which would be the most since before the recession began in December 2007. The governor said the state can afford a rate rollback because its “fiscal house is in order.”
Democrats, who control both legislative chambers, have said Christie’s plan favors the wealthy and have introduced competing plans they say would ease the state’s property-tax burden. Residential property taxes averaged $7,759 in 2011, according to state data. Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a West Deptford Democrat, has proposed giving residents a 10 percent property- levy credit on their tax returns instead of a rate reduction.
Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, a Democrat from Cherry Hill, wants to double that credit to 20 percent. He would pay for it with a tax surcharge on those with million-dollar incomes. Christie has pledged to veto such a levy.
PublicMind polltakers questioned 800 registered voters by telephone March 5-11. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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