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New Assembly Budget Boss Sets Priorities [AUDIO]

Budget season is ramping up in New Jersey. For the past decade Lou Greenwald has been chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, but there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Vinnie Prieto.

Vincent Prieto
NJ Assembly Democrats Facebook

Greenwald has been elevated to Majority Leader and Prieto is now ready to guide his caucus through the long and often tedious budget process.

“What you can expect from me is I like to run my meetings on time and I like to have everybody be heard,” explains Prieto. “We want to hear from the ordinary folks. We want to see what their issues are, what their challenges are and how we can create a better life in the State of New Jersey……One citizen’s idea could make a big difference.”

Last month, Governor Chris Christie delivered his Fiscal Year 2013 State Budget Address. It includes a modest increase in state aid to schools and the largest ever payment into the public workers’ pension system, but it’s two tax-related proposals that are garnering the most attention and Democrats are bashing both of them.

The $32.1 billion spending plan is more than $2 billion above the current budget. It provides $213 million more for schools over last year. The Christie Administration is projecting revenue growth of 7.3% in the coming year. It is with that revenue that the Administration hopes to fund the first phase of a three-phase 10% state income tax cut which is expected to cost $183.3 million in the first year. The legislature would need to approve the tax cut.

Democrats are opposed to the income tax cut plan and have proposed competing Senate and Assembly plans.

“We want to make sure that the working class and the poor are well-represented in this budget,” explains Prieto. “Our goal must be to help our struggling middle-class and lower-income families. We know tax cuts for the rich neither help our economy nor our middle-class, so let’s put the focus where it belongs – on New Jersey’s working families. Let’s do the right thing and provide real, reliable and responsible property tax relief in a way that helps nearly all our middle-class and poor.”

After his first public budget hearing as chairman last week, Prieto said, “When it comes to property tax relief, Gov. Christie’s budget reflects the wrong priorities for New Jersey’s seniors, middle-class and poor. People are struggling under the 20 percent net property tax hike they’ve endured under Gov. Christie. Tax relief is a good thing, but the goal must be on property tax relief and the Assembly Democratic plan for a 20 percent property tax relief credit.”

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