The Senate and Assembly budget committees are scheduled to consider the $32 billion State Budget bill today along with legislation to increase the state sales tax on millionaires. Democrats are sponsoring both measures. They have also added some spending to the plan, almost $130 million.

One bill would return revenue from energy tax receipt to municipalities. It comes with a price tag of $66 million for the first year although Democrats have not identified from where that cash will come. Governor Chris Christie has been opposed to this in the past.

Another measure increases the Earned Income Tax Credit program to 25% of federal earned income tax credit amounts. That would cost the state $50 million in the first year. While Christie mentioned increasing the credit in his Budget Address he has not taken a public position on this particular bill.

Democrats are trying again to secure almost $7.5 million for family planning and women’s health services. Christie has already vetoed this measure in the past.

$5 million would also be added to expand the neighborhood revitalization State tax credit under another bill.

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald is spearheading the effort to pass a millionaires’ tax hike again. Christie has vetoed this twice and promises to do it again. The bill would make a supplemental appropriation of $789 million to the Homestead Benefit Program, which pays credits against local property taxes, helping lower a homeowner's property tax bill. This will triple the amount available under the program, providing for significantly enhanced property tax relief payments to the state’s beleaguered homeowners and tenants. ($398.5 million had already been budgeted).

Senior/Disabled Homeowners would receive homestead benefits according to existing statutory provisions. The benefit 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.

Non-Senior/Non-Disabled Homeowners would receive the same homestead benefits to which they are entitled under the FY 2012 appropriations act, except eligibility would be extended to homeowners with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000.

Additionally all homeowners in this category would have their rebate calculated based on their 2011 property taxes paid rather than on the 2006 property taxes paid as contained in the governor’s budget proposal.