Majority Leader Greenwald Discusses 25% Property Tax Relief for Seniors with NJ AARP
July 2, 2012
By Andrew Kitchenman
Gov. Chris Christie called on the state Legislature to pass a tax cut in a special session on Monday, saying it would create jobs.
However, legislative Democrats rejected the call, saying the state must first reach the governor's revenue projections.
The special session was held on the same day that Christie issued a conditional veto of a tax on residents with more than $1 million in income. He replaced that tax plan with one based on a proposal by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-West Deptford).
"There is one great thing left to do," Christie said. "Lock in tax relief today to create new jobs for the people of New Jersey."
Christie asked the Legislature whether it would "act today to guarantee a summer of tax relief."
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-East Orange) said after Christie's speech that without meeting revenue targets, "we will find ourselves in a situation where we will not have enough revenue to meet" constitutionally mandated spending. She added that Assembly Democrats never embraced the Senate Democratic tax proposal.
Sweeney noted that the tax cut that Christie wants wouldn't occur until next year, leaving time for a tax cut if the state meets revenue targets.
Christie accused the Democrats of making spending a higher priority than lower taxes.
July 2, 2012
Comments from elected New Jersey officials regarding Gov. Chris Christie's latest plan to cut taxes, which he announced Monday:
"I have used my veto authority on the budget you sent me to create a $650 million surplus. Can't we afford to send just one-third of that surplus back to our citizens and to give them that guarantee today? I say yes. We have the money available to fund a tax cut that gives relief to middle-class New Jerseyans." - Christie, a Republican.
"The governor's mania to protect tax cuts for the mega-rich over property tax relief for the middle-class and senior citizens is appalling. We gave the governor one more chance to help beleaguered homeowners across this state and once again he failed miserably. Today was a blatant attempt by the governor to distract from his opposition to middle-class New Jerseyans. The governor has made his choice - he will protect the mega-rich to the detriment of middle-class taxpayers." - Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, a Democrat from Voorhees.
"Tax relief is not something that should be subject to political theater and misleading statements, but sadly that's what we saw today. ... Time and time again Gov. Christie has failed when it comes to tax relief." - Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, a Democrat from East Orange.
"This was completely unnecessary because we've already placed in the budget the money for the tax cut." - Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford.
The New York Times
June 27, 2012
By Kate Zernike
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey promised a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too budget for next year, one that would make the state’s pension payments, increase money for schools, provide drug treatment for nonviolent criminals, restore tax credits for the working poor and give every taxpayer a 10 percent income tax cut.
At $32 billion, the proposal for the next fiscal year — unveiled in February — included the biggest spending increase of any governor in the country. But it was based on one of the most optimistic revenue projections in the country, too, assuming that taxes and fees paid to the state would rise 7.2 percent.
Now those projections are coming up short. With unemployment in New Jersey still higher than the national average, tax revenues have failed to meet targets for several months in a row. Depending on whether you believe the governor, the nonpartisan legislative office that analyzes the budget, or the rating agency Moody’s, the state will take in anywhere from $704 million to $2.2 billion less than it had anticipated.
But far from backing down, Mr. Christie has reacted in character. He derided the director of the nonpartisan office who downgraded the revenue estimates as a partisan hack, a “Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers.” And he doubled down on his bet, insisting that even with reduced revenue, the state could still afford the $183 million tax cut.
New Jersey 101.5
June 26, 2012
By Kevin McArdle
The fact that Governor Chris Christie is going to veto the millionaires’ tax increase bill that passed the full Assembly yesterday is maybe the worst kept secret since the recipe for ice cubes.
The millionaires’ tax hike measure was approved by the Assembly along party lines with no Republican support. The same is expected to happen Thursday in the Upper House.
Democrats say the tax increase would generate $789 million for middle class property tax relief to help 95% of New Jersey’s residents. The revenue would be dedicated to the Homestead Benefit Program, which pays credits against local property taxes, helping lower a homeowner’s property tax bill.
The added money would triple the amount available under the program, providing for significantly enhanced property tax relief payments to the state’s beleaguered homeowners and tenants according to Democrats. ($398.5 million had already been budgeted).
Under the plan, senior and disabled homeowners would receive homestead benefits according to existing law. This would equal 20 percent of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid in 2011 if an applicant’s income does not exceed $100,000, 15 percent if the applicant’s income is more than $100,000 but not more than $150,000 and 10 percent if an applicant’s income is more than $150,000 but not more than $250,000.
N.J. Assembly passes bill that would fine employers for forcing workers to turn over social networking info
June 25, 2012
By Matt Friedman
Employers would face fines if they force their employees to turn over their personal usernames and passwords to social networking websites such as Facebook under a bill that passed the state Assembly this afternoon.
The bill (A2878), which passed 77-0 with two abstentions, would fine companies $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 each time after. Employees could also sue.
Companies would also be barred from making prospective employees turn over the info.
“In this job market, especially, employers clearly have the upper hand. Demanding this information is akin to coercion when it might mean the difference between landing a job and not being able to put food on the table for your family," Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), a sponsor, said in May. "This is a huge invasion of privacy that takes 'Big Brother' to a whole new level. It's really no different than asking someone to turn over a key to their house."
Under another bill (A2879), colleges, universities and other higher educational institutions would be barred from requiring students to let them access their accounts, though the bill does not set a fine. It passed 75-0 with two abstentions.
Companion bills have been introduced in the Senate but have not advanced.
Legislatures in at least 10 other states have introduced similar measures, and Maryland has signed one into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.