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Chris Christie Could Have NJ Budget On His Desk Monday [AUDIO]

We could be less than one week away from knowing for certain how New Jersey plans to spend your hard-earned tax dollars.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

The State Senate and General Assembly are planning to hold public hearings this Thursday on their State Budget bill and the goal is to have the full legislature approve the spending plan Monday.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo says his panel is sticking to the plan announced last week to hold its hearing in two days and have all 40 members of the Upper House consider the budget bill Monday afternoon.

Assembly Budget Committee chairman, Vinnie Prieto says he has also scheduled a Thursday hearing on the spending plan measure, but because there is already a voting session scheduled for the full Assembly on that day, his budget hearing could carry into Friday. He says the plan is for all 80 members in the People’s House to vote on the budget bill Monday as well.

Sarlo says the Democrats’ budget bill will be different from the proposal Governor Chris Christie laid out in February, but it will also be fiscally responsible.

He explains, “Any additional (spending) items that we do add in will be offset with another cut in spending……The size of the budget will remain as the Governor has indicated he will certify……I know in the senate we have the votes to support this plan.”

Christie’s $32.1 billion spending plan proposal for Fiscal year 2013 is roughly $2 billion above the current budget. The Christie Administration is projecting revenue growth of 7.3% in the coming year.

Democrats think Christie’s growth projection is overly optimistic and that’s why they still plan to set aside roughly $180 million to pay for some type of tax cut to be enacted only if revenues match the Governor’s estimates.

In his State of the State Address and again in his budget message to the legislature Christie proposed a 10% State income tax cut for everybody. Feeling that idea favored the rich, Senate Democrats countered with a 10% property tax cut proposal and Assembly Democrats offered up a 20% property tax reduction plan, half of which would be funded with revenue from a millionaires tax increase.

Democrats in both houses now say they will pass a millionaires tax hike and commit all of the approximately $800 million in revenue from it directly into the existing homestead property tax credit program. Christie has already vetoed the tax increase twice and isn’t shy about promising to do it again.

In his budget message, the Governor was clear on his position as it pertains to a millionaires’ tax increase. He said, “Our standing in the last two years has improved somewhat, but not enough. We have stopped spending growth in its tracks. We have eliminated the special surtax that for a time gave New Jersey the highest marginal tax rate in the nation – and I am proud to have twice vetoed the effort to re-introduce it. And just so there is no mistake in my intention: I will veto any tax increase again.”

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