After Gov. Chris Christie gave his 2013 budget address to the Legislature Tuesday, the Democrats responded to the items outlined in the $32.1 billion spending plan.
Democrats have spoken out against the 10 percent income tax cut Christie first discussed in his State of the State address last month and the criticism continued Tuesday. Senate President Steve Sweeney said Christie’s focus on income tax “is wrong” and he should be more concerned with property tax relief which would benefit residents of all income levels more than the income tax cut, which would greatly favor the wealthy.
“There are too many people in the middle class who are suffering for the benefit of the wealthy in this state,” Sweeney said.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said that the level of relief with the income tax cut for the average New Jersey family making $50,000 would be just $80 over the course of three years. “That is not acceptable,” she said. She said members of the Legislature will prioritize the issues most important to New Jerseyans. In addition to property taxes, Oliver said education funding is high on the list.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg added that the working poor will not get the earned income tax credit until 2014 while millionaires will receive the tax cut in 2013.
Assemblyman Louis Greenwald said Christie wants to take credit for increasing aid to school districts and restoring senior rebates, but in reality he cut funding to both. Greenwald said the money being restored to education funding is still at a lower level than before Christie took office.
Greenwald also criticized the income tax cut. “He’s ignoring the needs of the middle class,” Greenwald said.