Christie To Deliver Budget Address In Less Than Two Weeks [AUDIO]
On February 21, GOP Governor Chris Christie will present his spending plan for the next fiscal year. The Democratic chairmen of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees have no clue what will be proposed, but they know what they'd like to hear.
"I would hope that we don't get dragged down on this 10% income tax cut because I don't know if the income tax is really what the big issue is," says Paul Sarlo, head of the Senate budget panel. "I would hope that in this budget we're focusing in on property tax relief."
Christie is pushing a 10% across-the-board state income tax cut phased in over three years. The Administration is typically tight as a drum when it comes to leaking information about his speeches so the Governor's focus is still unknown.
Assembly Budget Committee boss Vincent Prieto says, "I'm hopeful that he will come with his proposal that is something that we can work with in a bi-partisan way and to get relief to the municipalities because that's where it all begins."
Sarlo and Prieto feel if towns and schools get more state aid property taxes can be driven down. New Jerseyans still pay on average more in property taxes than homeowners in any other state.
"The Governor wants to take credit for instigating a debate on taxes when he should be taking the blame for a property tax increase during his time in office," claims Sarlo. "His continued advocacy for a tax scheme that provides a windfall for the wealthy and ignores the biggest burden for the middle class shows that he has the wrong priorities and the wrong remedy. Under the Governor's tax scheme, millionaires would make out but the middle class would just have to make do with burdensome property taxes."
In a survey released earlier this week by Monmouth University-New Jersey Press Media, voters were asked to name, in their own words, the state's most pressing issues right now, property taxes (42%) and jobs (42%) were the first things out of New Jerseyans' mouths.
Christie is pushing his income tax cut plan. Just 8% feel that's a pressing issue. Leading Democrats have made legalizing gay marriage their top priority. Only 2% of New Jerseyans agree that it should be.