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‘If you tax them, they will leave’

Chris Christie seeks to mend the broke and broken state of New Jersey.

Apr 26, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 30 • By FRED BARNES
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With his zeal for smaller government, Christie has prompted comparisons with Ronald Reagan. “Tone-wise,” Christie says, he reflects “Reaganism with a Jersey edge. Reagan had a better way of making it sunnier than I do. Our personalities are at core a little different.” His first vote for president, at age 18 in 1980, was for Reagan.

Christie believes he can accomplish his goals in one term. He wants to trim the tax rate on individual income to 6 percent and see the jobless level sink and compare well with neighboring states, making New Jersey competitive. “Everything else flows from that,” he says. “It’s a great state to live in. It’s just become unaffordable.”

There’s a bigger goal, too. “We should be seen as the failed experiment for other states and the country,” he says. “Spend beyond your means and then kill your tax revenue base by raising taxes 115 times in eight years, and then you’re New Jersey,” Christie said last week on MSNBC. With a brash recovery, “We can be an example for others.” That would be “an extra, added benefit” to success as governor of a state that failed, then mended its ways and flourished.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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