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NJ Tax Cut Debate to Take Center Stage [AUDIO]

Get ready for months of tax cut talk.

Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney
Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

Gov. Chris Christie vows he’ll spend all summer long bashing the Democrat-controlled legislature for not passing the tax cut he’s been demanding. State Sen. President Steve Sweeney says Christie can talk all he wants, but it won’t make any difference unless New Jersey sees a serious revenue windfall and he predicts that won’t happen.

“It’s not real,” says Sweeney. “The money is not there.”

“To be perfectly honest with you, we (Democrats) don’t believe his (Christie’s) budget. We don’t believe his numbers. We think there’s going to be a shortfall next year.”

The Christie Administration didn’t even ask for the tax cut during budget negotiations insists Sweeney. He says it wasn’t a bone of contention.

“We did it last year,” explains Sweeney. “I placed $183 million in the budget for a tax cut. It got consumed by the (revenue) shortfall. He was actually lucky that we put $183 million in the budget in reserve just in case.”

Make no mistake says Sweeney. He is in favor of the tax cut.

“It’s my tax cut,” says the Sen. President. “He agreed to my tax cut not his plan. Look, I waited month after month (last year). I would not say the say the tax cut was dead for one reason; I wanted to do the tax cut. It was obvious in the end there was no money.”

According to Christie, the state can afford the tax cut. He promises he could find money in the budget to support it. He accuses Democrats of dragging their feet at the expense of the taxpayers of New Jersey.

The tax cut proposal that remains on the table would provide:

  • The 10 percent credit is capped At $10,000 of property taxes paid and all New Jersey homeowners with up to $400,000 in income will be eligible for relief.
  • A refundable gross income tax credit for homeowners with $400,000 or less of taxable income, which would lead to an average savings of $775 per household.
  • A phase-in over four taxable years.
  • An increase in the “renter’s credit” from $50 to $100 for tax year 2013, rising to $200 by tax year 2015.

Qualifying homeowners under the plan would get a $100 credit for the second half of 2013, then 4 percent of their property taxes next year, 8 percent in 2015 and 10 percent in 2016 and thereafter. The proposal includes a provision that lets the Legislature scrap the cuts if they’re not affordable.

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