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Trio Of Tax Cut Plans Still Hot Topic In Trenton [AUDIO/POLL]

Tax cuts remain the hot topic in Trenton. Governor Chris Christie wants to cut income taxes by 10% for every New Jerseyan. Senate President Steve Sweeney proposes a 10% property tax cut for some and the Assembly Democrats have a plan they say can provide a 20% property tax cut for those who need it most.

NJ Legislature State of the State 2010
Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

“I’m convinced that the Governor and Senate President Sweeney are going to get together and work something out,” says Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick. He thinks it sends a strong message because, “Here’s two leaders, a Democratic President of the Senate and a Republican Governor talking about cutting taxes in New Jersey…..Everybody is happy. Every statistic shows that people will take…..they’re happy with any plan. They like all the plans.”

Christie is not happy with every plan. The Assembly Democrats proposal which is being spearheaded by Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald would provide a property tax relief credit through the gross income tax return, for all residential homeowners with incomes up to $250,000 in the amount of 20% of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid.

To pay for the new revenue needed for the middle-class and lower-income property tax relief under the Assembly Democrats’ plan, the state’s income tax rate for those earning more than $1 million would be increased beginning next fiscal year. The rate would go from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent. This would impact about 16,000 out of about 2.6 million filers and raise $800 million at the plan’s full implementation in fiscal year 2016. And, that’s where the problem lies because Christie hasn’t been shy about his thoughts on that particular tax increase.

In his budget message, the Governor said, “We have eliminated the special surtax that for a time gave New Jersey the highest marginal tax rate in the nation – and I am proud to have twice vetoed the effort to re-introduce it. And just so there is no mistake in my intention: I will veto any tax increase again.”

Bramnick says, “We’re not going to raise any taxes. That’s for sure. That’s out. That’s the wrong message and so, the Greenwald plan of raising taxes, that’s DOA.”

A spokesman for Greenwald says, “The public has long rejected the Republican legislative mantra of tax cuts for the rich at the expense of New Jersey’s middle-class. The Republicans should put their opposition to middle-class property tax relief aside and join Democrats in helping New Jersey’s working families and seniors.”

Townsquare Media was the first to report that under a new plan proposed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a family earning $50,000 a year would save, on average $600, and a family earning $100,000 a year would save an average of $800; millionaires would get absolutely zero. Under the governor’s proposed income tax scheme, a family earning $50,000 a year would only save $80.50, and a family earning $100,000 annually would only save $275, while a millionaire would get a $7,265.75 tax break and those earning $3 million would save $25,200 a year.

The Sweeney plan would focus every dollar of tax relief on the 95 percent of New Jersey households that earn up to $250,000. The Christie proposal, by comparison, would give those families only an average of $218 in relief, while the top 5 percent would get an average of $4,632 and the top 0.6% would get an average of $22,577.

“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.”

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