Steve Sweeney To Host Town Hall 2 Tonight [AUDIO]
It's Town Hall 'Take-two' for State Senate President Steve Sweeney tonight in South Jersey.
He says he's taking his show on the road to explain the difference between his tax cut plan and Governor Chris Christie's proposal, but Sweeney says his first town hall meeting two weeks makes him feel he should be open to questions on any topic.
"I had some people who hollered at me at the first meeting, but it was okay," explains Sweeney. "We listened and we answered. Tonight, I'm going to give them answers. I'm going to give them honest answers. They might like the answers, but I'm going to be straight-up and give them what I think."
Governor Chris Christie typically hosts one town hall meeting a week and sometimes more to tout his policies and proposals. Not to be outdone, Sweeney and Senate plans to hold a series of town hall meetings across New Jersey to discuss his plan to provide property tax relief to middle class New Jersey.
Last month, Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal that would reduce by 10 percent the property tax burden of New Jerseyans earning less than $250,000 a year. It would come in the form of a credit through income tax returns. Renters would receive $200 a year after full phase in of the plan.
In His Budget Address, Christie said, "In this budget, I have included the proposal I outlined for you a few weeks ago in the State of the State address. I propose to reduce personal income tax rates, across-the-board, for every New Jerseyan, by 10%, and I propose to begin the three-year phase-in of the cut with this budget. A 10% tax cut for every working New Jerseyan will help families to keep more of what they earn. It will make us more competitive with other states and attract more new jobs to New Jersey. Every New Jerseyan deserves a tax cut. Lower tax rates will relieve over- burdened middle class families. They will keep job creators here."
"When I announced my plan the Governor started running commercials saying that I agree with his plan," explains Sweeney. "There can't be anything further from the truth and I want people to see the differences between the two plans……It's real clear-cut. Mine is a property tax cut. His is an income tax cut for the wealthy. There's a difference; mine is middle class, his is wealthy."
Sweeney says under his plan, a family earning the state's median income of $69,811 with property taxes at the state average of $7,758.20 would save $775.82 while under the Governor's proposed income tax scheme, they would save just $97.78; meanwhile a millionaire would get a $7,265.75 tax break and those earning $3 million would save $25,200 a year.
"Property tax relief is on its way," says Sweeney. "Income tax cuts to the wealthy are not going to be had in this budget……I am not negotiating an income tax cut. I can tell you that right now."
Christie says, "The Senate President has said that he wants an income tax credit program, I want an income tax cut program. That means, imagine this: in the state where these guys were running the state for the last eight years before I got here and they raised taxes and fees 115 times, the only argument we have left now down here on taxes is which ones to cut and how."
Sweeney says, "Our plan would put every penny of relief in the hands of middle class and working class New Jersey. These are the families whose property taxes have gone up 20 percent under Chris Christie. We are going to go directly to the people so they can see how they would benefit under our plan versus the governor's income tax giveaway scheme to millionaires."
Sweeney's second town hall meeting will be held tonight, April 2, at 7 p.m. at Camden County College in the CIM auditorium, 200 College Drive, Blackwood (Camden County). The meeting is open to the public. Future meeting dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
For further details on the Senate Democrats' plan to reduce the property tax burden on middle class New Jersey, please visit the website they set up.