Guv Might Be Ready To Talk Property Tax Credit, But Won’t Boost Minimum Wage

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie appears ready to consider a Senate Democrat proposal to give New Jersey residents an income tax credit for a portion of their property tax bills, but he won’t sign a bill to boost the minimum wage.

At an AARP conference on Thursday, the governor told seniors, “We want you to get a 10-percent credit on your income tax toward your property taxes.”

Christie had originally proposed a 10 percent across-the-board state income tax cut that would be phased in over four years, but Democrats blasted the plan for favoring the wealthy.

Sen. President Stephen Sweeney proposed the tax credit to ease the burden on New Jersey property owners. Under his plan, which would have the same costs as the governor’s proposal, residents would receive an income tax credit equivalent to 10 percent of their property tax bills if their income was less than $250,000 per year.

Assembly Democrats have their own tax reduction plan that relies in part on restoring an income tax surcharge on millionaires for funding.

It is unclear if the state really has enough revenue to pay for any kind of tax cut at this time. Christie’s office now says that revenue through June 2013 will be $706 million less than originally projected, while the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services estimates the budget gap would be as much as $1.4 billion.

Later in the day, at a town hall event in Lyndhurst, Christie said that he will not sign a bill that would raise New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and offer further annual increases for inflation. The Assembly passed the bill in May and it is pending in the state Senate.

“We’re telling small business owners that not only are we going to raise their costs by a buck and a quarter, but we’re also going to raise it with these cost-of-living adjustments,” Christie said. “Here’s what’s going to happen — they’re going to have to lay people off.”


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