Reaction To Governor’s Budget Address
Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media
Governor Christie delivered his budget address to a joint session of the legislature at the Statehouse attracting attention from all sides.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union)
The Governor’s budget is focused on rebuilding and improving the foundation of our economy so that it will create sustainable, private sector jobs. By holding the line on spending reducing taxes for every working family, we can compete for jobs with every other state in America and show businesses that New Jersey is a good investment.
Reducing the income tax is an investment in our state just like education, state colleges and universities, property tax relief, and support for the disadvantaged. It is a needed investment in job creation for the still far too many workers seeking employment.
The Governor’s budget presents us with a choice: continuing to do what has been working for New Jersey’s economy and job market, or return to the days when unchecked taxes, spending, and borrowing turned our state into an economic disaster.
To Republican Senators, that’s an easy choice to make.
Speaker Oliver on Christie Budget Proposal: The Governor has Become the Master of Distraction; Once Again the Devil Will Be in the Details
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex)
“What we got today was merely a speech, nothing more. As we’ve seen with each of the Governor’s prior budget proposals, the devil will be in the details that have yet to be delivered to us.
“Now begins the intensive process of dissecting his proposals to ensure that our priorities are being met and that the working poor and the middle class will not once again bear the largest burden. Unfortunately, at first glace, that same recurrent theme appears to be in place.
“No matter how the Governor dresses it up, a 10 percent across-the-board income tax cut is still a disproportionately generous gift for the wealthiest among us, one that will have little-to-no impact on the lives of working class New Jerseyans. Even more puzzling is the lack of details on how the Governor intends to pay for his millionaires’ gift.
“The most glaring omission in his speech, however, was the complete and utter absence of a plan to address property taxes. Every media outlet, every elected official and the majority of our citizens have identified property taxes as the single most pressing issue facing our state and yet the Governor has once again failed to make this a priority. Together with Senate leadership, we intend to make this a focal point of our budget process in the coming weeks and months.
“It’s become clear that the Governor, much like a magician, has become the Master of Distraction. So while he waves around one hand with gimmicks like ‘The Jersey Comeback’ and an income tax cut proposal, he’s hoping no one will notice that his other hand has been slashing programs for working families for the last two years.”
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D)
“The Governor got it wrong with this budget and the middle class will pay the price if he gets his way. It’s wrong for him to put in place a tax scheme that provides a windfall for the wealthy and only small savings for the middle class and working people. It’s wrong for him to ignore the property tax burden carried by most homeowners and it’s wrong that his past budget practices caused a 20 percent increase in property taxes during his two years in office.
“The Governor falsely claimed that the property tax problem has been solved and he falsely claimed that cutting taxes for millionaires and multi-millionaires is the best formula for the economy. He’s wrong on both counts. We all want to cut taxes, but we should cut the right taxes and we should help those who need it most.”
Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)
“I agree with the Governor that real leadership will turn New Jersey around. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for real leadership.
“With his proposal to spend $2 billion more than last year while cutting taxes, Gov. Christie’s budget address was a masterful piece of political theater meant to divert attention from the problems facing New Jersey’s middle class.
“It relies on exceedingly optimistic revenue forecasts to justify his proposal to cut income taxes and turns a blind eye to the fact that our property taxes and state debt continue to rise.
“His income tax proposal would reward New Jersey’s wealthiest residents with thousands of dollars while most of us would be lucky to get $100 in tax relief while continuing to face higher property taxes. It amounts to nothing more than the same trickle-down economics that has been destroying the economic security of hard working families for years.
“The governor’s proposed budget once again sacrifices New Jersey’s middle class to his national ambitions. It is a political document that ignores New Jersey’s problems and rejects New Jersey values so that he can appeal to national Republicans and Tea Party activists. In short, it is less about New Jersey in 2012 than it is about Iowa in 2016.”
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden)
“The governor’s budget plan is just more of the same – tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle-class.
“Gov. Christie just doesn’t get it. His zeal for tax breaks for the rich while middle-class families struggle with the highest property taxes in the nation is wrong. He has essentially proclaimed ‘Mission Accomplished’ after a net 20 percent property tax increase.
“Democrats will begin reviewing this plan line-by-line, but will do so continually focused on ways to combat property taxes and restore the property tax relief cut by this governor.
“Middle-class property tax relief is our priority.”
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth
“Governor Christie’s first two budgets scored significant victories for taxpayers and fiscal sanity and this is the best New Jersey budget I have ever seen.
“The 10 percent income-tax cut for every worker in New Jersey combined with increases in state aid to our schools and the continuation of business tax cuts means we haven’t taken our eye off the ball and can deliver a broad and balanced approach to tax relief.
“This budget will continue our momentum toward a state that is friendly to taxpayers and businesses that are bringing back good-paying private jobs to New Jersey.
“The administration has an impeccable record when it comes to budget projections and has earned the trust of taxpayers, who can take it to the bank that this budget will help deliver lower taxes and more jobs to New Jersey.”
Assembly Republican Anthony M. Bucco, R-Morris and Passaic
“The spending plan proposed by Governor Christie shows that the fiscal priorities established over the last two years are now paying dividends. Residents will benefit from the across-the-board income tax cut as well as from the $213 million increase in educational aid. Businesses will continue to grow and create good-paying jobs because of the $350 million in tax cuts that are contained in the new budget.
“Because of the fiscal restraint we have shown over last two budgets and our commitment to make New Jersey a more business-friendly state, we have seen obvious economic benefits. Creating 60,000 new private-sector jobs reflects that our economy is turning around and is a major factor in being able to provide a record level of state aid for schools and making our required $1.1 billion pension payment. New Jersey is on the road to recovery.
“Funding education to the highest level in state history benefits both students and taxpayers. Governor Christie’s budget proposal continues to build on the momentum that began two years ago. Reforming government and making taxpayers the top priority sends a positive message that people in this state have been waiting for.”
Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean,
“Governor Christie’s budget proposal reflects the priorities that are most important to the people of the state – reducing taxes, creating jobs, and reforming education. The governor’s budget reflects his pledge to fund key programs while maintaining the fiscal discipline he established over the last two years.
“Because of these fiscal controls, Governor Christie is able to present a pro-growth agenda that will create good-paying jobs and ease the burden on taxpayers. Putting New Jersey’s fiscal house in order is starting to pay dividends. Cutting income taxes by 10 percent, increasing educational aid by over $200 million and targeting $350 million in business tax cuts shows the governor is focused on the core priorities of the state.
“Enacting a property tax cap and reforming our pension system over the last two years are important factors that contributed to a budget proposal that is fiscally responsible and sends a message that Governor Christie is listening to taxpayers and businesses. Everyone should be encouraged by the governor’s spending plan.”
Better Choices for New Jersey spokesperson Bill Holland
“Even as New Jersey continues to lag behind other states in its economic recovery, Governor Christie has chosen to double down on his failed policies by giving another $400 million per year to the top 1% of New Jerseyans while asking the other 99% to foot the bill. His budget fails to make the investments in transportation, education, and public safety necessary to get New Jersey back to work. Instead, he proposes a tax plan that will pay for lavish vacations and fancy dinners for the 1% while offering around $2 a week to the average working family. Meanwhile, the 99% will continue to pay more in tuition, tolls, transit fares, and school fees in exchange for larger class sizes, rising crime, lower property tax rebates, and higher tuition.
New Jersey’s working families are fed up with paying more, getting less and still not seeing the jobs they need. Two years of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations have failed to create meaningful job growth and New Jersey continues to lag behind neighboring states in the number of new jobs added. Working families want a budget that works for the 99% and asks the 1% to pay its fair share. Over the next five months the Better Choices coalition will fight for a tax fairness plan for the 99% and a budget that will create jobs and make the key investments necessary to jumpstart the economic recovery that Chris Christie’s short-sighted policies have stunted.”
The Better Choices for New Jersey Campaign, representing over 85 organizations, was formed in 2008 to fight for a balanced approach to resolving New Jersey’s economic crisis which invests in schools, transit, public safety and other vital services on which working families rely. Many of its revenue proposals were adopted for the FY 2010 budget, including a surcharge on New Jerseyans making over $400,000 per year.
Senator Dawn Marie Addiego
“Governor Christie’s budget cuts taxes on every family in New Jersey, and continues to promote business expansion and job creation in our state. We are establishing a competitive advantage over our neighboring states, and New Jersey residents will reap the benefits.
“I applaud Governor Christie for putting forward a plan that will produce significant savings for taxpayers. The Governor’s plan to cut income taxes across the board will put more money back into workers’ paychecks, and his proposal to increase education aid to our schools will produce property tax savings for homeowners.”
Assemblyman Scott Rudder
“Governor Christie’s first two budgets held the line on taxes and helped create 60,000 private-sector jobs. This budget goes further and will give money back to families and businesses at a time when the states we’re competing with for jobs are considering raising income taxes.
“This budget will reduce the burden on taxpayers and allow businesses to stay in New Jersey and create the jobs we need.”
Assemblyman Christopher J. Brown
“This budget will cut taxes for every worker in the state and will help property taxpayers with the largest state aid payment to help schools offset the property tax burden in New Jersey history.
“Sound fiscal policies like these have brought New Jersey back from the brink and this budget will hasten the state’s recovery and ability to add good-paying private-sector jobs.”
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic)
“The average property taxpayer is shelling out $1,275 more now than they did before the governor took office. Unemployment continues to hover at levels higher than the national average. Many of our schools and towns are still behind where they were three years ago. These are the real needs of the middle class. Yet all we continue to hear about is an income tax scheme that will effectively just put more cash into the pockets of the very rich.
”We have 110 days until our constitutional deadline to produce a balanced budget. We will meet that deadline, and we will do so with a budget that puts the needs of middle-class New Jersey first.”
Assemblywoman Donna Simon, R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset
“Today’s announcement underlines Governor Christie’s commitment to provide hardworking taxpayers with the relief they deserve while strengthening the opportunities for students across our state.
“I am encouraged that fiscal discipline over the last two years has allowed us to increase state funding to our schools by $213 million this year. Education funding now accounts for 36 percent of our total budget. This is the largest amount of state money budgeted for education in New Jersey history.
“As we continue to increase state funding to our schools, we shift the burden of paying for public education away from local property taxes. Hard-working families and seniors should take comfort in knowing that this unprecedented level of commitment to education means real property tax relief is on its way.”
NJGOP CHAIRMAN SAMUEL RAIA ON GOVERNOR CHRISTIE BUDGET ADDRESS
“Today, Governor Chris Christie once again reminded us all why we elected him to tackle the major problems that had plagued New Jersey for decades, resulting in a $2.2 billion deficit. As the Governor announced this afternoon, he has again delivered a budget that does not raise taxes, does not rely on the budgeting gimmicks of past administrations, fully funds core functions, and delivers real common sense reforms. In addition, the budget not only keeps spending levels lower than in 2008 but increases aid to education to the highest levels in state history. It was not easy but the hard work and tough decisions made since 2009 have allowed the Governor to propose a 10% across the board income tax cut benefiting every single New Jersey taxpayer. This is what progress looks like and bringing tax relief to every hard working New Jerseyan is how this progress will continue to grow.
“Two years ago, the people of New Jersey took a bold step and elected Governor Christie on the promise that he would end the long tradition of fiscal mismanagement and reckless spending that had become the unofficial trademarks of Trenton. Now, three budgets later, it is clear that Governor Christie has not only lived up to his promise of economic responsibility but has ignited the New Jersey Comeback and put our state on a sustainable path for generations to come. At a time when the Governor’s stewardship has allowed New Jersey to fund real priorities at historic levels, Democrats in the Legislature owe it to the people of this state to answer one simple question: why not deliver tax relief?”
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES REACTION TO GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL
Today in Trenton, Governor Christie delivered his FY 2013 State Budget to the Legislature. The Governor’s proposed budget looks to restore cuts in education funding and to implement the first phase of his proposed three-year 10 percent across the board income tax cut. Citing tough choices and courageous decisions made over the last two years, the Governor called on all to help put the “New Jersey comeback into high gear.”
With regards to the level of property tax relief funding that the Governor will include in his FY 2013 Budget proposal, it appears that all municipal taxpayers should expect level formula funding, in the aggregate. This includes Energy Tax, CMPTRA, Garden State (Open Space) Trust and Watershed Moratorium Offset funding. While $42.8 million will be shifted to either the Energy Tax or CMPTRA distribution, Transitional Aid funding is slated for a $56.4 million reduction.
The Governor noted that, thanks to the bi-partisan reforms, pension bills are lower this year than they would otherwise have been. We were also advised that health benefit costs should be down slightly this year, with savings growing significantly over the next five years.
While we appreciate the leveling of municipal property tax relief, we are disappointed with the State’s continued budgetary reliance on municipal revenues. For over ten years, regardless of political affiliation, no Administration has proposed a budget that honors the promise made to our property taxpayers, that Energy Tax and CMTRA funding would be annually adjusted to account for inflation in municipal costs.
Today’s speech marks the beginning, not the end, of deliberations on the State’s next spending plan. Public hearings will soon be scheduled by both the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees.
We commend Governor Christie and Legislative Leaders for their leadership in advancing efforts to bring discipline to State spending and in considering common sense solutions to local cost drivers. It will take courage and discipline to now wean the State off of these local revenues.
The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ)
The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) applauds Gov. Chris Christie’s continued effort to restore fiscal discipline to state government in New Jersey.
CIANJ is a business advocacy organization, representing more than 900 member corporations throughout New Jersey. John Galandak, president of the organization, attended the governor’s budget presentation in the Statehouse today. “For the third year in a row Gov. Christie presented a budget plan that will allow state government to fund its priorities without raising taxes and pledged to veto any tax increase that was presented to him,” Galandak said, adding, “In fact because of the tough bipartisan decisions made over the last two years which have redirected New Jersey’s fiscal policies, our state is now in a position to implement a 10 percent across the board reduction in personal income taxes. The business community has long asked for predictability and certainty from state government. This budget message continues to deliver both.
“This is another positive step in having New Jersey shed its reputation as one of highest taxed states in the nation. Signals like these make people stand up and take notice of how our state is changing and becoming a more attractive place to locate and grow a business. CIANJ is certain that the creation of private sector jobs will accelerate as a result,” Galandak said.
“Another positive note from business’ perspective is the proposals involving investments to enhance critical strengths, such as higher education and essential infrastructure that contribute to many of our comparative advantages that bolster the business climate” the CIANJ president said.
Communications Workers of AmericA
“Once again, Governor Christie has presented a budget that will make the rich richer at the expense of the middle-class. The Governor brags about vetoing basic tax fairness, and his latest giveaway for the wealthy would mean a tax cut of just $2 a week for the average New Jersey taxpayer and $7,200 for a person making $1 million a year.
“The Governor also boasts about his proposed payment to the state’s pension system, but let’s get the facts straight: the payment he proposes is less than one-third of what his own actuaries say the state should pay. How many New Jerseyans would pay one-third of their mortgage bill and congratulate themselves?”