Should NJ’s Richest Pay More So You Can Pay Less? [AUDIO]
Do you think New Jersey's approximately 16,000 millionaires should pay more in income taxes so you can pay less in property taxes?
Senate and Assembly Democrats certainly feel that way and for the third consecutive year they plan to pass a millionaires' tax increase. There's one serious flaw in the plan; Governor Chris Christie promises to veto the tax hike for the third year in row.
It'll be a busy day today at the State House in Trenton as the legislature shifts into hyper-drive with just nine days to go before the constitutional deadline for a signed and balanced State Budget.
Senate and Assembly committees are slated to consider their budget bills and the millionaires' tax increase legislation today. The goal is for both full houses of the legislature to pass both bills and send them to Christie's desk Monday.
Assembly Democratic leader Lou Greenwald has spearheaded the push for a millionaires' tax hike. He says, "The Governor has to decide, is going to keep his manic approach to protecting this fraction of one-percent or is he going to side with taxpayers around the state and give real relief?"
It is estimated that the millionaires' tax increase would generate $800 million in revenue for the State. A confident Greenwald explains, "Every penny that will come in from the millionaires' tax would go, full dedication to the property tax credit program……We are passing as we did last year a millionaires' tax."
Christie feels New Jersey's millionaires already pay enough in taxes. He also insists they are the job creators that we cannot afford to let flee the state.
The Governor has made no secret of the fact that he will definitely veto the millionaires' tax hike, but he's not surprised Greenwald is pushing for it again.
Christie says, "That is a man who is obsessed with raising taxes. Taxes can't be high enough for Lou Greenwald…I know Lou. He loves to raise taxes and create new taxes. That's really the bedrock of his career."
Because the Assembly also has a voting session today, Assembly Budget Committee chairman Vinnie Prieto says his hearing will be adjourned during the session and he'll pick it back up afterwards. The hearing could conclude tonight or early tomorrow morning. Prieto says, "We'll play it by ear."
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo says the Democrats' budget bill is different from the proposal Christie laid out in February, but it's also fiscally responsible. He explains, "Any additional (spending) items that we do add in will be offset with another cut in spending……The size of the budget will remain as the Governor has indicated he will certify……I know in the Senate we have the votes to support this plan."
Sources says Democrats plan to add approximately $140 million in spending. Christie thinks it's closer to $125 million which includes $25 million for nursing home, $50 to restore the earned income tax credit and $7.4 million for women's health services.
Christie's $32.1 billion spending plan proposal for Fiscal year 2013 is roughly $2 billion above the current budget. The Christie Administration is projecting revenue growth of 7.3% in the coming year.
Democrats think Christie's growth projection is overly optimistic and that's why they still plan to set aside roughly $180 million to pay for some type of tax cut to be enacted only if revenues match the Governor's estimates.
In his State of the State Address and again in his budget message to the legislature Christie proposed a 10% State income tax cut for everybody. Feeling that idea favored the rich, Senate Democrats countered with a 10% property tax cut proposal and Assembly Democrats offered up a 20% property tax reduction plan, half of which would be funded with revenue from a millionaires tax increase.