While New Jersey residents wait with breathless anticipation for the Snooki-LaValle lovechild to arrive and lead them to a new age of prosperity, the State’s leadership is left to try and salvage the present by enacting sweeping tax cuts.
What remains to be determined, however, is what shape the cuts will take. On Wednesday, Governor Christie announced that he was “pretty close” to a deal on a tax-cut plan with Senate President Stephen Sweeney. To recap, here were the proposals by each side:
Christie: A 10% across-the-board reduction in the individual income tax rates to be phased in over a three-year period beginning in 2013. The plan would cost the state $183 million in 2013 and $1.1 billion by the fourth year.
Sweeny: Senate Democratic leaders, criticizing Christie’s plan as favoring the wealthy, have called for a 10% tax credit on the first $10,000 of property taxes paid. The credit would only be permitted for residents with income below $250,000, shifting the benefit of the tax cuts to the lower and middle class. The plan would cost the state $175 million in 2013 and $1.4 billion by the fourth year.
A third proposal had been pitched by state Assembly Democrats that would have doubled the tax credit to 20% of the first $10,000 of taxes paid while using the same income limits. As opposed to the Senate’s plan, the Assembly tax credits would have been paid for by implementing a “millionaires tax;” raising the top personal rate from 8.97% to 10.75%. Christie, as expected, rejected this idea as “dead.”
The sticking point will likely continue to be where to focus the tax cuts: Democrats don’t want the state’s millionaires to receive any additional benefit, while Governor Christie has been adamant about not raising taxes on the wealthy, having twice vetoed measures that would previously implemented a “millionaire’s tax.”
We’re pretty close, so now let’s see if we can find an area of compromise,” Christie said of Sweeney’s proposal. “I think everyone should get tax relief and he limits it at $250,000 — there’s a boulevard there between them. Lets see if we can get the car onto that boulevard and move it down the road.”