State Senate President Steve Sweeney says as long as Governor Chris Christie continues to push his 10% state income tax cut, he'll continue to criticize it as a giveaway to the rich.

Christie insists he's only interested in being the Governor of New Jersey, but Sweeney says if that were true Christie would focus on the state's #1 issue.

"When the Governor's tired of playing on the national stage and wants to come back and talk about New Jersey then I really believe he would be focused on the property tax situation," says Sweeney. "For the national stage, I got it. He's dead on for what he's playing to, but he's the Governor of the State of New Jersey and he needs to focus on our issues."


Christie says everyone deserves a tax cut and under his plan everyone will get one. He also thinks it's a sea change just to have Democrats talking about which tax to cut rather which tax to increase. Sweeney actually agrees with the latter sentiment. He says, "I'm thrilled to be talking about finding ways to cut taxes and that's a good thing for both sides and no one wants to raise taxes."

Democrats agree with Christie that the people of New Jersey want lower taxes. They just think he picked the wrong tax to cut. They feel the focus should be squarely on property taxes. They say the average Jersey resident would be lucky to see $100 in savings from the income tax cut plan while millionaires would receive over $7,000.

Sweeney says he's in talks with Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and although nothing has been finalized yet, he hopes the Democratic leadership team will be able to present an alternative budget plan soon.

After Christie delivered his budget address earlier this month, Sweeney said, "We're going to work on our plans, but we know the focus and the real tax is property taxes so we'll see his (Christie's) budget, but we're going to be developing our own plans."

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said, "You will see…..a counter-proposal that the Democratic caucuses would want to move forward……You know that last year the Democrats crafted their own budget and we presented the Governor with a budget."

That didn't work out so well for Democrats. Christie vetoed almost $1 billion in spending items from the Democrats' plan. That created a brief but bitter feud between Christie and Sweeney.

Assemblyman John McKeon sponsors a bill to hike the tax on millionaires. He says. "Obviously we've got until July 1st with the budget. I would expect that this will be an integral part of a striking a deal as it relates to the budget that is now going to be before us."

Sweeney says Democratic Leadership is not talking about a millionaire's tax hike right now.

McKeon's bill would increase the rate of the New Jersey gross income tax for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $1,000,000. The bill provides for adjusted income taxation at the following bracket at the following rate: over $1,000,000 is adjusted from 8.97% to 10.75%. The bill permanently imposes the tax rate at this $1,000,000 income bracket that was temporarily imposed during taxable year 2009.