BAYVILLE -- Gov. Chris Christie on Monday threw his support behind a Republican tax plan critics say will disproportionally harm New Jerseyans, as he and he and Ivanka Trump pitched it as a way to boost the national economy.
"The future of our economy is the most important thing for our nation's future," Christie said inside a fire hall.
He welcomed President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to host a question-and-answer session and tout a pair of tax reform proposals.
Ivanka Trump said tax overhaul plans and deregulation "democratizes" the system and would spur economic growth of up to 5 percent.
"The code has become so complex and simplification will benefit all Americans," she said. "I think simplification ultimately democratizes the tax code."
It was an hour-long, invitation-only event moderated by area's Washington lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd Dist.
Christie credited MacArthur as being "the single loudest voice in the House of Representatives to make sure" the chamber's proposal didn't totally scrap the deduction for property taxes, which would disproportionally harm New Jersey and a handful of other high-taxed states.
The latest House bill allows homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes. MacArthur pushed for the language and then supported the bill. However, the Senate proposal eliminates the entire deduction. And both versions would not allow anyone to deduct their state income taxes.
More than one in four New Jersey residents would face tax hikes under Republican legislation that sharply curtails the federal deduction for state and local taxes, according to a study released last week. That's a higher percentage than in all but two states.
Invited guests at the fire house in Oceaan County town wrote their questions down and MacArthur, R-3rd Dist., dished them to Trump and Mnuchin.
But there were a few heated exchanges.
Jason Ireland, of Brick, was denied entry and asked loudly why Democrats were blocked from attending the event.
As the session was winding down, MariAnne Clemente, of Barnegat, interrupted Trump's closing remarks and demanded they take more questions from the audience.
"You're not the only one, why don't you keep quiet and let her talk?" a man from the audience shouted.
"This tax bill is not going to help the middle class," Clemente said. "This is disgraceful."
The event was held just before Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and other Democrats trashed the Republican tax plan as a new report was released maitaining that it would still hurt New Jersey taxpayers even with the new House provision for property tax deductions.
In addition, Fitch Ratings agency recently warned that New Jersey and other high-tax states "would be more affected and may have less tolerance for higher taxes going forward" under the legislation that ends the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes and caps it for property taxes.
Only two other states, Maryland and California, would see a greater percentage of their residents facing a tax increase under the GOP legislation than New Jersey's 27 percent, according to the study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a progressive research group.
NJ Advance Media Staff Writer Jonathan D. Salant and The Associated Press contributed to this report.