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Dems: NJ Can’t Afford Tax Cut Right Now [AUDIO]

Gov. Chris Christie will make his Fiscal Year 2015 state budget address today. Monday, the Senate President talked about a variety of issues related to the spending plan and raised the possibility of reviving a revenue boosting bill that Christie has already vetoed three times.

NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney
State Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

[See Advance Excerpts of Christie Budget Address]

One of the questions Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) was asked was, how open are Senate Democrats to the idea of a tax cut if Christie proposes one?

“You gotta be kidding me right now,” Sweeney answered. “If we can restore the Earned Income Tax Credit and we can restore the (property tax) rebates — if we can restore the programs that we have, then we can talk about another program.”

The governor hinted he could propose a tax cut again on Tuesday. Democrats all say they would love to cut taxes, but the state cannot afford it right now. Sweeney was also asked about increasing the millionaires’ tax.

“To us, it’s a no-brainer because you would just be putting them back to what they were paying under Jon Corzine,” Sweeney said. “I’d be open to a sun-setting of it. I really would. Let’s do it now until we get our jobs back.”

Increasing the millionaires’ tax would generate about $600 million, Sweeney said. He explained that money can be used to restore programs and protect others, and the tax hike could be repealed when the state’s financial house is in order.

New York has recovered 100 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession, according to Sweeney and Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge). They said New Jersey has plenty of room to grow its economy because the Garden State has only recovered 45 percent of its lost jobs.

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