Gov. Christie embarrassed by property tax figures, so he erases them: Editorial
Gov. Chris Christie has expunged several years of data regarding property tax rebates, a sure sign that he is trying to hide his atrocious record. What other motive would explain it?
The data Christie has hidden demolishes his claims of success in taming this beast. He liked to talk about how the rate of increase is down, and that’s true. Rates bumped up only 1.7 percent last year, down from a peak of 7 percent per year a decade ago.
But that’s only half the story. Christie also slashed rebates that were earmarked for the elderly and middle-class. Compare the records: Jon Corzine sent out just over $6 billion in rebates during his four years; Christie slashed that to just over $1 billion.
The net effect is that the burden on the average family in New Jersey has increased much faster on Christie’s watch. An analysis by NJ Spotlight showed that the burden rose by 18.6 percent in Christie’s first three years, triple the rate of increase under Corzine.
The solution to this awkward arithmetic? Erase the data from both administrations.
Fifteen years of numbers have been sponged from the Department of Community Affairs website, so if you want to calculate the average burden in your town, you're out of luck.
Again, the governor deserves credit for the slower growth of tax rates, but there’s no avoiding the fact that his annual surgery of the homestead rebate – which is now in its third delay in five years -- has helped crush working families.
So the administration could initiate an honest dialogue by putting the website numbers back, as a 72-1 Assembly vote suggested last Tuesday. Or it can continue its longstanding government practice of hiding behind fuzzy math.