NJ Dems Still Working On Budget Attack Plan [AUDIO]
You almost always know, even before a Governor Chris Christie Budget Address is even over, what the Democrats are going to bash him on. Not this year.
It could be because the spending plan proposal has been described as "safe" and "non-ambitious" and even a "yawner." Whatever the reason, Democrats have yet to coalesce around one major point of opposition to Christie's proposal.
"It's kind of premature to determine what that is," explains Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. "I can tell you the themes will be the same themes that we have been fighting for as Democratic leadership which is those middle class values."
In his budget message last week, the Governor said his plan funds the key initiatives necessary to rebuild our state and restore our prospects for future growth and greatness.
"The Governor talks about lower taxes," says Greenwald. "They're not lower for seniors. They're not lower for middle class families. They're not lower for property taxpayers. What we are going to be looking for is a combination of the jobs package that we have passed (and) property tax relief and reform."
Christie clearly differs with Greenwald on the Assemblyman's claim that taxes are not lower under his watch. The Governor says property taxes had increased 70% in the ten years before he took office and the state had increased taxes and fees 115 times in the prior eight years. Christie says his 2-percent cap on property taxes is working and this marks his fourth budget with no tax hikes.
"In 2011, after a decade of 7-percent annual increases, New Jersey homeowners saw the lowest increase in two decades, down to 2.4%," explains Christie. "Last year, we did even better: statewide, property taxes increased by only 1.4-percent, the lowest in twenty-four years."