Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has called for the nation’s wealthiest people to pay more taxes, should “just write a check and shut up.”
“I’m tired of hearing about it,” Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that aired last night. “If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.”
Christie, a first-term Republican known for a blunt and caustic style, has proposed a 10 percent income-tax cut for every New Jersey resident. Democrats who control the Legislature say his plan would favor the rich. A family with a $50,000 annual income would pay $80 less under his plan, while someone earning $1 million would save $7,200, Democrats say.
Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has urged Congress to raise taxes on millionaires to cut the U.S. budget deficit. In a New York Times op-ed last year, Buffett wrote that his federal income-tax bill was $6.94 million, or 17.4 percent of his taxable income -- a lower rate than any of the other 20 employees in his Omaha, Nebraska, office. He has said it is wrong that he pays a smaller share than his secretary does.
Carrie Kizer, Buffett’s assistant, didn’t immediately return an e-mail or telephone call seeking comment on Christie’s statements.
Using the Bat
Christie’s comments -- which have included calling a lawmaker “numbnuts,” urging reporters to “take the bat out” on a 76-year-old legislator and calling union leaders “political thugs,” -- have made him a national figure.
Christie, who vetoed a bill to legalize gay marriage and wants to put it to a popular vote, told its supporters last month that blacks would have been happy to put their civil rights up for a referendum.
“People would have been happy with a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South,” Christie told reporters Jan. 24 in Bridgewater.
He was accused of ignorance by leaders including Georgia Representative John Lewis, a civil-rights movement veteran who was beaten by Alabama state troopers. Lewis came to Trenton to denounce the governor.
--With assistance from Brian Chappatta in New York. Editors: Stephen Merelman, Mark Schoifet
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