TRENTON – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a Democratic budget proposal Thursday by an 8-5 vote that went along party lines.
The $31.7 billion budget does include plans for a tax cut in 2013, but only if New Jersey’s tax revenue collection matches projections. While Democrats are skeptical of Gov. Chris Christie’s revenue figures, their budget plan is just $62 million less than his revised budget proposal.
“This is a smart, responsible budget that reflects economic conditions. It doesn’t achieve all that we would want, but it accomplishes what we can afford,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo, who is the committee chairman. “This budget plans for a tax cut, but it doesn’t commit to one…. The smart thing to do, the responsible thing to do is to plan for a tax cut but wait until we know it can be paid for.”
Christie blasted Democrats, accusing them of raising taxes on New Jersey citizens.
“After months of promising to deliver critical tax relief to the people of New Jersey, Corzine Democrats today proved it’s just more of the same when it comes to their addiction to raising taxes and holding tax relief hostage,” the governor said. “Corzine Democrats are sending a loud, resounding no to tax relief for hardworking New Jerseyans because they’d rather repeat the cycle of the eight years before I became Governor, raising taxes and fees every 25 days on the citizens of New Jersey.”
Sarlo was ready to lay the blame at the governor’s feet if the tax cuts do not materialize.
“The governor’s projections appear to be designed to advance a political storyline for his national Republican profile, but it ignores the economic truths that show New Jersey’s economy is performing far worse than other states under Governor Christie,” Sarlo said. “If his revenue projections resemble his so-called ‘Jersey comeback,’ they’ll turn out to be a political mirage that leaves the middle class empty handed.”
Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco criticized Democrats for holding the committee hearing on their budget proposal just an hour after members were given the document to examine. “The process by which this budget plan came about represents the worst in Trenton politics,” he said.
“Tax relief should have been enacted in this budget, and Republicans would have worked with our Democrat colleagues to seek additional budget savings to make it happen if they were concerned about revenue projections,” Bucco said. “Instead, the political interests of the majority were placed ahead of the relief that our constituents tell us that they need every single day.”
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