Millionaire’s tax hike – Take five
The budget is an alternative to the one introduced by Gov. Chris Christie in February and the top Democrat and the leading Republican in the Assembly couldn't disagree more on the concept.
"I've been an advocate for it for a long time," said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus). "We have asked everybody to put in their fair share. That would be able to help us get to our goal of meeting all our obligations."
The millionaire's tax hike would increase to 10.75 percent the income taxes paid on every dollar over $1 million earned. Prieto and Senator President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said they want to fully fund the public employee pension system, and the revenue generated through the tax hike would help make that possible.
"The taxpayers have had enough. People are leaving the state so this concept of raising taxes, that's a non-starter in the republican caucus," said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). "There will be no votes for new taxes from the Republican side of the aisle."
Democrats should join Republicans on an agreement for more public workers' pension and health benefits reform and also look for areas to reduce government spending, according to Bramnick.
"We're looking everywhere, whether it's where we can cut stuff and trying to find any money," Prieto explained.
The tax increase is likely to be dead on arrival if it passes the full Legislature. Christie made that obvious in his 2015 State of the State Address before a special joint session of the Legislature in January.
"I have vetoed four income tax increases passed by this body and make no mistake, I will veto any more income tax increases that come before me," Christie said.