Gov. Christie Calls For End To Realty Transfer Fee, Campaign Spending Limits At Town Hall

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Gov. Chris Christie spoke for more than an hour April 15 at his 119th town hall, held at the NJ National Guard Armory.

Gov. Chris Christie called for an end to realty transfer fees and limits on campaign spending in a town hall meeting held April 15 at the N.J. National Guard Armory on Hamilton Street.

This was the third time Christie has visited the township during his two terms as governor.

Christie spoke to the several hundred people gathered at the armory for more than an hour. About half of the audience was comprised of invited guests – including students from several Princeton schools and local dignitaries – while the other half was made up of township and area residents.

Responding to a question asked by a retried NJ State Trooper, who wondered why he had to pay a $4,500 realty transfer fee after he sold his home, Christie said the tax was “another grab by government for your money.”

Homeowners who sell their properties must pay 1 percent of the selling price in a realty transfer fee.

“It’s unfair, it should be done away with and if they sent (a bill to repeal the fee) to my desk, I’d sign it,” he said.

Answering a question from a student about campaign finance reform, Christie said that no amount of regulations will keep money out of politics.

“I’m opposed to all these rules that don’t stop money from coming in anyway,” he said.

Christie said the way to ensure that money doesn’t influence politicians is to remove caps on how much can be donated, but require politicians to disclose those contributions on the Internet within 48 hours of receiving them.

“Wat we’re really trying to get at is how does money affect politics,” Christie said. “You’re never going to keep money out of politics. AS long as you have to advertise to get to people, you’re going to need money.”

“We need to be realistic about the fact that in this country, our political system costs money,” Christie said.

Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) asked how towns could get more money for historic preservation.

Christie’s answer was not upbeat.

There’s no room in the budget for things like historic preservation, Christie said.

The governor said the only way to raise money would be to create a new tax, or increase a current tax and dedicate part of it to preservation.

“I don’t think we can afford to raise taxes in this state,” he said.

Other areas on which Christie touched were:

Medicaid: “We have to figure out a way to deliver services and cut costs,” he said, noting that New Jersey has the “second-most expensive Medicaid program in the country.”

The Affordable Care Ac: Christie said it was “hard to tell at this point” how the ACA will affect New Jersey residents. “But what we do know is taxes will be significantly higher,” he said.

The proposed budget: Christie said more people are working now – and therefore paying taxes – and state government’s payroll has been reduced, both of which have contributed to his being able to maintain control over the budget’s growth rate.

State retirees: Christie said that next year’s budget will be the first one in the state’s history that will call for more spending on retirement payments than on current payroll. Pension reform is needed, he said, which “means that some people aren’t going to get what they thought they were going to get. That’s life. We have to think of the greater good.”

There were a few scattered “boos” in the audience when Christie appeared, and one anti-fracking demonstrator was nearly removed when she kept shouting at the governor, but most of the crowd was comprised of Christie supporters.

“I think he’s great,” township resident Fran Ruggiero said of the governor. “I agree with most of what he said.”

Mary Jo Gaughan, also of Franklin, agreed.

“I just like his approach, his honesty,” she said. “He tells it like it is.”

Both women said they support the governor’s efforts to cut taxes in the state.

Gov. Christie's Town Hall 4-15-14



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