Governor Christie To Get Millionaires’ Tax Hike Bill Today, Vows Veto [AUDIO]
Today, without discussion or debate, the full State Senate is expected to approve a millionaires' tax hike bill that Governor Chris Christie is still promising to veto it for the third consecutive year.
The full Assembly passed the measure Monday.
Democrats say the tax increase would generate $789 million for middle class property tax relief to help 95% of New Jersey's residents. The revenue would be dedicated to the Homestead Benefit Program, which pays credits against local property taxes, helping lower a homeowner's property tax bill.
Christie says New Jersey's millionaires already pay high income taxes and hiking the tax would put the state at a competitive disadvantage in terms of surrounding states. He also feels millionaires are the job creators and if their taxes are increased they might flee the state.
State Senator Shirley Turner sponsors the measure in the Upper House. She says, "It's only fair that we have everyone share in the sacrifice of paying more during this time of a deep recession…..This tax is nothing more than economic justice."
New Jersey has approximately 16,000 millionaires, less than 1% of the state's total population. The tax increase kicks in only for every dollar earned over $1 million annually.
Turner is keenly aware of Christie's veto plans and say, "I take him at his word, but I think that he should search his soul."
The tax hike revenue would be used to would triple the amount available under the program, providing for significantly enhanced property tax relief payments to the state's beleaguered homeowners and tenants according to Democrats. ($398.5 million had already been budgeted).
Under the plan, senior and disabled homeowners would receive homestead benefits according to existing law. This 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.
Other homeowners would receive the same homestead benefits to which they are entitled under last year's budget, but eligibility would be extended to homeowners with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000.
Homeowners would have their rebate calculated based on their 2011 property taxes paid rather than on their 2006 property taxes, as proposed in the Governor's budget proposal.
Senior and disabled tenants would receive benefits according to existing statute. Homestead benefits for these residents with incomes up to $70,000 would receive between $150 and $850. Those with incomes of $70,000 to $100,000 would receive $150.
Other tenants would receive 50 percent of the statutory rebates, which would amount to $75.
"Seemingly every budget solution that Democrats offer starts with the phrase, 'First, let's raise taxes,'" says GOP Assemblyman Jay Webber. "I think this proves, once and for all, that Democrats in this legislature are one-trick ponies when it comes to their budget planning and proposals."