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Senator Scutari: $1 Billion Should Be Used To Put New Jersey Back On Track

“Windfall should be used to pay down debt, eliminate new taxes, retain state property”

LINDEN-Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (22nd District – Middlesex, Somerset, and Union) stated today that a projected $1 billion in additional tax revenue should be used to put New Jersey’s financial house back in order.

“Now is the time to pay down the debt,” said Senator Scutari. “We’re already slated to be $2 billion behind on the budget for FY2007. We should apply this money to outstanding liabilities instead of creating new ones.”

The Senator also argued against new tax measures, such as a 2% gross receipts tax on cable, and an expansion of the realty transfer fee to include homes priced between $150,000 and $350,000. “The reason we have this additional billion dollars is because New Jersey leads the region in economic growth. These proposed taxes are counterproductive, taking money out of out of peoples’ pockets and out of the local economy.”

Senator Scutari singled out the realty transfer fee increase: “Today, $150,000 homes in New Jersey are about as common a sight as a dinosaur on the Turnpike. The market is already putting a tremendous squeeze on buyers for affordable housing; why are we going to penalize them further?”

The Senator also wants to stop selling off state land, explaining that, “we have real estate holdings that will only continue to appreciate in value. To sell them off now if we don’t absolutely have to is to shortchange ourselves down the road. It’s a little like getting rid of the family silver.”

The most important thing, said Senator Scutari, is to be fiscally responsible: “Governor Codey put the budget together with a scalpel and a microscope, and I urge my colleagues to stay the course. To abandon a frugal approach now would be self-defeating and gratuitous. This is an opportunity, not a reprieve.”