World
What Chris Christie Didn’t Say at His Campaign Kickoff
The New Jersey governor pledges to “tell it like it is,” but his fiscal record and rhetoric don’t line up
 
Now that Chris Christie is officially running for president, his record as governor of New Jersey will be getting a lot more scrutiny. As we reported with The Washington Post in April, there’s plenty to look at.
 
Our reporting focused on Republican Christie’s fiscal record, an area where he’s claimed some of his biggest achievements – and committed some of the “Budget Sins” he attacked his predecessors for. 
 
Kicking off his campaign today, Christie used familiar rhetoric to champion his record in New Jersey. “We rolled up our sleeves and we went to work and we balanced six budgets in a row,” he said. “We’ve refused to raise taxes on the people of this state for six years.” 
 
But as our earlier reporting showed, Christie’s fiscal record doesn't always line up with his campaign’s “Telling It Like It Is” tagline. Take public employee pensions, a chronic problem in New Jersey.
 
When Christie signed his sixth budget on Friday, he reiterated his claim that his contributions to the state’s pensions have far outpaced those of his predecessors. As we pointed out in April, that’s only true if you exclude a $2.75 billion pension contribution by former Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. 
 
Christie doesn’t count Whitman’s payment because it was made with borrowed money, allowing him to assert that pension contributions under his administration are “more than twice as much as any other governor in New Jersey history.” 
 
More recently, Christie has also claimed a pension victory from a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that came out in his favor. But again, the circumstances are more complicated than he describes.
 
“We just won a major court decision supporting the pension reforms that we put into place in 2011,” Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during a recent interview on “This Week.” 
 
The details: The court ruling actually allowed Christie to avoid making a full $2.25 billion payment to the pension funds due by today, as dictated by the reforms. To allow for a smaller contribution – $893 million – Christie’s lawyers had argued that a key provision of the reforms was unconstitutional.
 
In the past, Christie has claimed the pension reforms as one of his biggest political wins.
 
Entangled in the recent pension wrangling was another issue we reported on in April – a reduction in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit under Christie. The cut effectively raised taxes on the working poor.
 
New Jersey Democrats, who control the legislature, had pushed a “millionaires’ tax” to help make the full pension contribution in the state’s 2016 fiscal year. Christie vetoed the tax – and then sent a surprise proposal back to lawmakers to restore the prior cut in the tax credit and raise it even higher. 
 
But the proposal came with a catch – it required concurrence with the millionaires’ tax veto. Democrats groused that it would give Christie a campaign sound bite, but they went along anyway. The tax credit increase now awaits Christie’s signature.
 
Courtesy: ProPublica

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Bobby Jindal sued over order to protect same-sex marriage opponents
A gay rights advocacy group and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana are suing Louisiana's Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal for issuing an executive order aimed at protecting opponents of same-sex marriage.
 
Jindal signed the religious freedom executive order in May hours after the Louisiana Legislature refused to pass a bill that would have implemented similar protections for those opposing same-sex marriage, according to NOLA.com.
 
The ACLU and other plaintiffs allege that Jindal has overstepped his executive authority by trying to provide a right to same-sex marriage opponents that only the Legislature can give.
 
"The governor's job isn't to create law," Sean Sullivan, with Forum for Equality Foundation, the LGBT rights organization involved with the lawsuit, was quoted as saying. "There is a big separation of powers issue here."
 
"The ACLU used to defend civil liberties, now it appears they attack them," said Jindal in a written statement suggesting the lawsuit is politically motivated.
 
"The Left likes to pick and choose which liberties they support at any given time, and it seems to me that religious liberty has fallen out of favour with them,"
 
The plaintiffs are accusing Jindal of permitting discrimination through the executive order.
 
The order is meant to protect people, businesses and nonprofits from losing access to professional licensing, tax benefits and other government services if they refuse to support same-sex marriage.
 
The ACLU and plaintiffs in the suit say this means individuals and companies would be able discriminate against same-sex couples, without facing repercussions.

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India's April-May fiscal deficit at over 37 percent of estimate
India's fiscal deficit in the first two months (April-May) of the current financial year touched Rs.208,624 crore, or 37.5 percent of the target for the current fiscal, official data showed on Tuesday.
 
This compares with the deficit of 45.3 percent during the same period a year ago.
 
The fiscal deficit for the full fiscal 2015-16 has been estimated at Rs.555,000 crore, or 3.9 percent of the GDP.
 
The government's tax revenue for the period was Rs.19,889 crore or 2.2 percent of the estimate, data from the Controller General of Accounts showed.
 
Total receipts (from revenue and non-debt capital) during the two months in question was Rs.54,207 crore or 4.4 percent of the estimates.
 
Total expenditure of the government during April-May was Rs.262,000 crore or 14.8 percent of the full year's estimates.
 
The revenue deficit during April-May was over Rs.172,000 crore or 43.8 percent of the estimates.
 
The government last month said it had managed to improve on its target for containing the fiscal and revenue deficits in the 2014-15 fiscal.
 
"As a result of prudent policies and commitment to fiscal consolidation, fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP is 4.0 percent as against the RE (revised estimate) of 4.1 percent (4.4 percent for the previous 2013-14)," the finance ministry said in a statement.
 
"The fiscal deficit at the end of 2014-15, stands at Rs.5,01,880 crore which is 98 percent of the projected figure in RE 2014-15," it added.
 
Regarding receipts, the government said gross tax collections at Rs.12,45,037 crore for the last fiscal had shown a growth of 9 percent (Rs.1,06,303 crore) as compared to fiscal 2013-14.
 
The gross tax collections is 9.8 percent of GDP, it added.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had in the Budget 2015-16 extended the target deadline for controlling fiscal deficit to three percent, reasoning that insistence on a timetable to contain the deficit would harm growth prospects.
 
The targets for the next three years have been set at 3.9 percent for 2015-16, 3.5 percent for 2016-17, and 3 percent for 2017-18.

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