NJ’s Budget Deadline Inches Closer And Still No Deal [AUDIO]
The constitutional deadline for a signed and balanced budget in New Jersey is midnight June 30th. Check a calendar.
Today in June 12 and no official deal has been reached amongst Governor Chris Christie, the State Senate and the General Assembly. Three competing tax cut plans are at front and center of the budget talks.
Last week, Governor Chris Christie all but confirmed that he supports a tax cut plan being put forth by State Senate President Steve Sweeney.
"We want to cut your taxes this year and we want you to get a 10% credit on your income tax towards your property taxes," said Christie. "That's what the Senate President's plan is. I've wanted to cut taxes across the board for the income tax. There's an area for us to compromise there I suspect and you know the senate President and I have compromised on a lot of things over the last two and a half years."
Christie originally proposed to reduce personal income tax rates, across-the-board, for every New Jerseyan, by 10% with the three-year phase-in of the cut with this budget. He says 10% tax cut for every working New Jerseyan will help families to keep more of what they earn and make the state more competitive with other states and attract more new jobs to New Jersey.
The Senate Democrats proposal would provide a property tax relief credit through the gross income tax return, for all residential homeowners with incomes up to $250,000 in the amount of 10% of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid. Recently Sweeney and Christie appeared ready to announce an agreement with a $400,000 threshold. A press conference was scrapped after sources said several Senate Democrats were not sold on the compromise.
A spokesman for Sweeney says, "The Senate President is thrilled that the Governor recognizes that property taxes are the most pressing issue for middle class households in New Jersey, not income taxes."
All of this talk not only signals that Christie is ready to back away from his plan, it also makes it appear as though the Assembly is left on the outside looking in with no real role in the negotiations. Assembly Budget Committee chairman, Vinnie Prieto adamantly disagrees.
"We have to be at the dance for the party to get started," explains Prieto. "We are going to be a key component in this…..At this point in time it becomes almost 24/7 budget. At least in our (Assembly Democrats) minds right now this is priority number-one."
The Assembly Democrats property tax cut plan works the same way as the Senate's proposal, but would provide a 20% savings and be partially funded by a millionaires tax increase which Christie has already vetoed twice and vows to veto again. Seniors would receive a 25% property tax cut under the proposal.
Asked if he would consider agreeing to a budget deal that doesn't involve the millionaires tax increase, Prieto says, "You always leave room for negotiation. You never say never on anything. I'm a firm believer that you always have to have all of your options open……Everything is on the table and whatever we take off we can always put back on."