Sweeney Promises Millionaire’s Tax [AUDIO]
Any suspense that may have been lingering about whether or not Democrats will revive legislation to re-impose a millionaire’s tax increase is now officially gone. State Senate President Steve Sweeney promises, “One way or another, one way or another, this is going to get addressed this year.”
Governor Chris Christie is adamantly opposed to a millionaire’s tax increase. Less than two weeks ago he was asked what would happen if the millionaire’s tax hike bill is passed. He said, “It’ll be vetoed and the veto won’t be overridden…..The McGreevey/Codey/Corzine years are over. Someone needs to send a message down the hall. There’s nobody in this room who’s going to sign a millionaire’s tax or any income tax increase.”
Democrats who control the Legislature say the tax increase would fund programs for the state’s most vulnerable residents, which Christie has cut. Because they gained one seat in the Assembly, Democrats now have a three-fifths majority in both houses of the legislature which means they could put a constitutional amendment directly before the voters. It would not have to be passed in the legislature for two consecutive years. Democrats are not committing to going that route just yet.
Ideally, Sweeney would like to see enough Republicans get on board so that the bill could be passed with a veto-proof majority. In order to achieve that, three Senate Republicans would have to support the measure and six GOP members of the Assembly would have to vote yes.
“We’d love for the Governor to tell the Republicans that they’re allowed to speak and they’re allowed to take action because they haven’t been up to this point,” claims Sweeney. “The people of New Jersey are trying to express to the Governor, ‘we get shared sacrifice, but how about we get everyone in, including your friends?'”
Christie has been attacking Democrats for not taking action on several bills. He has again taken to calling them the “Do-Nothing Legislature,” as he did for much of the earlier part of this year.
The legislature did pass a civil service reform bill to make it easier for towns to share services or merge as a way to save tax dollars. Christie conditionally vetoed it because it doesn’t include a provision to let towns opt out nor does it include furlough options for municipalities.
The Democrat-controlled legislature also passed a measure to limit end-of-career payouts for used sick days and vacation time for public employees. Christie conditionally vetoed that as well because he feels it doesn’t go far enough.
Sweeney says, “We feel a lot of things need to get done too. The name calling and the ‘Do-Nothing Legislature,’ is not getting it done. He’s got to grow up and act like an adult in dealing with these issues.
The Senate President says Christie should’ve signed the civil service reform bill because it was done responsibly. He says Democrats are already working with the Christie Administration to try and come up with a compromise on the bill that caps payouts for used sick days and vacation time.
The Governor has made education reform his immediate priority, but Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver are putting job creation and economic recovery front and center.