Clock is Ticking for NJ’s Competing Tax Cut Plans [AUDIO]
The clock is ticking, only 23 days left for the legislature to get a balanced state budget passed and come to an agreement on one of three competing tax cut plans.
The state's top Democrats in both houses hit the stage for the first time together to discuss their varying proposals at the New Jersey Association of Counties annual conference in Atlantic City.
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver differ on one main component of the bill, the millionaire's tax. Oliver has included in the property tax credit plan saying its needed to "level the playing field" but Sweeney says while he has supported a millionaires tax hike bill in the past, he will not support it as part of a plan to cut taxes.
"I have been adamant against...that I will not put a millionaires tax in a tax cut bill" Sweeney told the crowd in Atlantic City.
Speaker Oliver said that doesn't mean that a millionaires tax is off the table.
"The Senate President has made himself very clear he is not against the concept of the legislature coming forward with a millionaires tax....the form and the way in which we present it will be determined within the next several days."
Assembly Democrats have called for a 20 percent property tax credit targeted at low- and middle-income homeowners. They want to reinstate the millionaire's tax as part of the plan.
Senate Democrats have called for a similar, 10 percent credit. But their plan doesn't include the millionaire's tax. Governor Chris Christie has vetoed the tax in the past and promised to do so again. He's instead called for a 10 percent income tax cut.
"I think its important for everyone to pay their fair share... so I do support a millionaires tax but not as part of a tax cut plan that I am going to advance, no" said Sweeney.
As far as the state budget is concerned, the pair remain confident that a balanced budget will get passed by the June 30th deadline. "We will get it done because we have done it twice before with the Governor and I am optimistic that we will get the budget done before we leave...but what it looks like...who knows" said Sweeney.
"We will get the budget done...and we will reach an agreement on a tax cut plan, the Senate and Assembly, and we will be prepared to put forth a proposal that will become part of the budget process and the close out of the year by June 30th, so I'm confident" said Oliver.