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Chris Christie’s Veto Looms, But NJ Dems Poised To Pass Millionaires’ Tax Hike Again [AUDIO]

Despite Governor Christ Christie’s unwavering promise to veto a millionaires’ tax increase bill for the third consecutive year, the Senate Budget Committee approved a Democrat-sponsored bill to do it yesterday.

Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media

The Assembly Budget Committee is expected to follow suit this morning paving the way for the legislature to give it final passage Monday.

The tax hike would raise $789 million in revenue all of which would be dedicated to property tax relief.

“It’s great for the working and middle class to be able to benefit from this and I think it’s the right thing to do,” explains Assembly budget boss Vinnie Prieto. New Jersey has roughly 16,000 millionaires. There are approximately 8.5 million residents in the state.

Prieto says, “The Governor says, ‘Let’s all share the sacrifice.’ This is less than one-percent of the population. They should be sharing in the sacrifice.”

Asked how much Republican support can be expected for the tax hike, Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick says, “Zero plus zero plus zero equals zero. I would say zero…..The Governor’s just not going to go for it…..He’ll get to that first thing and he’ll make sure he vetoes that……Bottom line; the Governor says, ‘We’re not raising taxes.’ We’re already the highest taxed state in the country.”

The bill would make a supplemental appropriation of $789 million to the Homestead Benefit Program, which pays credits against local property taxes, helping lower a homeowner’s property tax bill. This will triple the amount available under the program, providing for significantly enhanced property tax relief payments to the state’s beleaguered homeowners and tenants($398.5 million had already been budgeted).

Senior/Disabled Homeowners would receive homestead benefits according to existing statutory provisions. The benefit would equal 20 percent of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid in 2011 if an applicant’s income does not exceed $100,000; 15 percent if the applicant’s income is more than $100,000, but not more than $150,000; and 10 percent if an applicant’s income is more than $150,000, but not more than $250,000.

Non-Senior/Non-Disabled Homeowners would receive the same homestead benefits to which they are entitled under the FY 2012 appropriations act, except eligibility would be extended to homeowners with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000.

Additionally all homeowners in this category would have their rebate calculated based on their 2011 property taxes paid rather than on the 2006 property taxes paid as contained in the governor’s budget proposal.

Assembly Democratic leader Lou Greenwald has spearheaded the push for a millionaires’ tax hike. He says, “The Governor has to decide, is he going to keep his manic approach to protecting this fraction of one-percent or is he going to side with taxpayers around the state and give real relief?”

The Governor has made no secret of the fact that he will definitely veto the millionaires’ tax hike, but he’s not surprised Greenwald is pushing for it again. Christie says, “That is a man who is obsessed with raising taxes. Taxes can’t be high enough for Lou Greenwald……I know Lou. He loves to raise taxes and create new taxes. That’s really the bedrock of his career.”

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