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Sweeney: “I Regret Not Pushing For Lower Prop Tax Cap” [AUDIO]

Senator Steve Sweeney
Kevin McArdle/Townsquare Media NJ

Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney agreed to landmark legislation earlier this year, pushing through a bipartisan package of pension and benefits reforms and a 2 percent cap on property taxes.

Now, Sweeney says he regrets not pushing harder for an even lower cap.

Four of the state’s top legislative leaders gathered at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s 2011 annual conference Tuesday in Iselin hosted by Townsquare Media’s State House Correspondent Kevin McArdle.

Asked if the new reforms, like the state’s 2 percent cap on property taxes, are working, Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney admitted that he should have pushed for a zero percent cap on property taxes to force towns to share services.

“Zero will force the sharing of services more rapidly…is it realistic…no, that’s why the governor and I didn’t go there, but I regret not pushing the cap further down.”

Citing a countywide EMS system in his district in south Jersey that not every town has agreed to, Sweeney says zero should be the way to go.

“And I wouldn’t even need legislation to get that done, I would have local elected officials with common sense finding ways to save dollars…so you can see that I have issue with local governments when they push back when they can save money.”

Democratic Assemblyman Lou Greenwald agreeed with Sweeney and says shared services is the only way to go.

“The cap is just a temporary fix, but we have to get towns to start merging.”

But Republican Senator Tom Kean says the state has turned a corner and is headed in the right direction.

“The cap is defintely working, and we are moving towards something that has not happened in Trenton for a long time…and that’s progress.”

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