Christie’s Town Hall: Bail Reform and Death Taxes [AUDIO]
At his latest town hall, Gov. Chris Christie used much of his monologue to go after the state legislature on a number of issues including bail reform and the cost of death in the Garden State.
Speaking to a crowd inside a Haddon Heights elementary school gymnasium, Christie urged lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly to act swiftly on a bail reform measure that would allow judges to take into account someone's criminal history when deciding whether or not to set bail. Right now, only "risk of flight" is considered.
"Let's give the judges the discretion," said Christie. "If they believe someone is truly a danger to the community based on their record, then keep them in jail pending trial. If not, set bail."
Christie presented the issue by detailing the story of a Trenton man who was accused of three serious crimes over a one-month period.
"What happens when these folks get bailed - the violent ones? They go back out, they commit more crimes, they intimidate witnesses," he said.
The move was approved by committees in both legislative houses, but has not been posted for a vote. Christie said he'd sign the bill immediately if it hits his desk.
In the middle of his attack on the latest tax-hiking budget proposal from legislative democrats, meanwhile, Christie claimed too many people "can't afford to die here," thanks to New Jersey's own estate and inheritance taxes.
New Jersey is the only state with both, according to Christie.
"Folks are going to pay significant money when they pass away…the assets that they worked all their lives for," Christie said.
New Jersey's estate tax applies to totals that exceed $675,000, a far cry from the federal threshold of more than $5 million. The inheritance charges hit certain people who receive assets from the deceased, depending on their value and the beneficiary's relationship to the deceased.
Attempts have been made to limit the burden, according to Christie, but those attempts are met with accusations of "class warfare."
"They say it's only about the rich," Christie said. "It's happening to middle class people all day."