NJ Tax Cut Fight Heats Up Again [AUDIO]
Today, the full General Assembly meets for a voting session for the first time since late June. Dozens of pieces of legislation are on the board list.
Republican leaders are bashing Democrats for not posting a tax cut bill. GOP Assembly members say the state can afford to pay for the tax cut now, but Democrats want to wait until it is certain that revenues match Governor Chris Christie's projections.
"It is not posted and we can't understand why," says Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick. "People are hurting in the state……We're trying to send a message to homeowners that we're concerned about property taxes. This bill sits idle. We do not understand why."
Bramnick says he's very concerned that Assembly Democrats just don't want to give Governor Chris Christie a win, but Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald says that's nonsense.
Greenwald says Democrats want to approve a tax cut, but in order to pay for the cut it must be absolutely clear that revenues will match Christie's estimates. He says for that to happen economic growth would have to soar by about 10% this year.
"It's not believable," claims Greenwald. "It's not believable in this economy…..That's really not genuine. It's not real and it's not sustainable."
Greenwald says Assembly Democrats approved a responsible plan to triple middle-class property tax relief credits, but Christie rejected it because it included a tax hike on New Jersey's 16,000 millionaires. He insists the Assembly Democrats plan was doable from a fiscal perspective because it was front-loaded with revenue from the millionaires' tax increase.
Bramnick is blaming Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver for what he perceives to be a lackluster voting session. He says, "She has chosen not to post a bill that is bi-partisan, a tax relief bill."
Tom Hester, a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats says, "As the people of New Jersey want and expect, the Assembly Democrats will continue to be fiscally responsible and prudent…….Quite simply, the Assembly Democrats will not be lectured by those who have supported policies that led to a net 20 percent property tax hike and 9.9 percent unemployment. If the Assembly Republicans want to join Democrats in their fight for the middle-class, job creation, quality and accessible health care for all and gender equality, then they're more than welcome."
A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday shows 52% of New Jersey voters say they support the Democratic plan to delay a vote in the State Legislature for a possible tax cut until they see if tax revenues are strong enough to support such a cut. 39% percent agree with Christie and his fellow Republicans that the time is now.
Bramnick, Conference Leader Dave Rible and Republican Whip Scott Rumana held a press conference yesterday to discuss the Republican legislative priorities, including urging the Assembly to take up the tax relief legislation commonly referred to as the "Tax Relief for New Jersey Families Act." They also want a vote on a bill to eliminate payouts to public workers for unused sick and vacation days.
Bramnick says under the bi-partisan tax relief bill, the average homeowner would save an estimated $775 when the legislation is fully enacted. Renters would receive an additional $250, and wage earners participating in the Earned Income Tax Credit Program would benefit by an extra $550.
Rible says, "After returning from summer recess, the Assembly must place policies such as cutting taxes and helping small businesses and manufacturers as its top priorities."
"Democrats have been stonewalling us on unused sick leave reform and tax relief legislation all year," claims Rumana.