Workers in New Jersey will see a slight reduction in taxes taken out of their paychecks next year thanks to a Democratic bill signed - and now touted - by Republican Gov. Christie.
"This isn't a temporary cut, this is a permanent cut," Christie said on commentator Sean Hannity's radio program.
Christie went on to refer to "liberals" who are committed to taxation, but didn't mention that the bill that led to the cut was introduced by Democrats with full Democratic backing and passed over "no" votes from 34 Republicans in the Legislature.
The law is designed to raise only the amount needed for the state disability benefits fund, allowing the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to adjust it each year. Since 1994, nearly $800 million in excess money toward disability benefits has been collected and then diverted to the state's general fund.
Christie said the changes would lead to a $190 million payroll-tax cut, or $87 next year for most workers.
He made the announcement Monday in three radio interviews and a meeting billed as a town hall at a North Jersey-based defense contractor. The bill was approved in May and signed in July, but the state waited until Monday to release the calculations, to determine next year's savings.
Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Harold J. Wirths said in a statement: "This change is not only fairer to New Jersey workers, it also leaves people with more spending money to put back into our economy."
Democratic legislators responded to Christie's announcement with sarcastic appreciation.
"Even if we had to wait three months for the official announcement, it is still good news to see Gov. Christie highlighting the payroll-tax cut that Sen. [Fred] Madden and I sponsored," Sen. Shirley Turner (D., Mercer) said in a statement. "The governor's ability to tout ideas that were developed by others, including those from different political parties, is a positive sign that he is heeding our call to work on the economy."
Madden (D., Gloucester) and Turner were joined by Linda Greenstein (D., Middlesex) in sponsoring the bill in the Senate, while Matthew W. Milam (D., Cape May) sponsored it in the Assembly.
The state Democratic Party called the law a "progressive idea" - in other words, "liberal" - and said the governor might consider supporting Democrats in the November legislative elections.
But Republicans weren't rushing to give credit to Democrats.
Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R., Gloucester) said in a news release: "It's nice to know that we have a governor who is looking for opportunities to directly help those in the workforce and at the same time improve our economy."