Senate Majority Leader Blasts Republicans for ‘Short-Sighted Partisanship’
TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Senate Republican attacks on Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts’ plan to move from a property tax rebate check to a credit on the State income tax:
“As long as I’ve known Joe Roberts, I’ve known him to be a dedicated public servant willing to stand up and fight for the needs of his constituents. Even though Republican lawmakers may be loath to admit it, the man has credibility when it comes to seeking to control the soaring costs of government in New Jersey. He has been in the trenches, with measures like the CORE plan, local property tax caps and a 20 percent reduction on the property tax bills of hard-hit taxpayers.
“The Speaker’s latest proposal – to replace annual property tax rebate checks with a credit on the State income tax – deserves careful consideration. Speaker Roberts has said that we stand to save nearly $50 million from consolidating property tax relief with income tax rebates. As we try to grapple with a multi-billion dollar budget deficit and unprecedented cuts in State government, I think any serious cost savings measures need to be on the table.
“For my Republican colleagues to dismiss the proposal out-of-hand is extraordinarily foolish, and reflective of the sort of short-sighted partisanship that has damaged people’s faith in their elected leaders. If the people of New Jersey can’t trust us to come together and seek real solutions during possibly the greatest fiscal crisis ever in the Garden State, then why exactly are we here?
“I supported last year’s dedication of sales tax revenue to fund property tax rebates for the people of New Jersey. I don’t regard that as an election-year ploy, and I don’t think Speaker Roberts does either. It was a genuine attempt to move towards a fairer, less regressive form of taxation, based on people’s ability to pay, and designed to make the State a little more affordable.
“Taking a plan to save $50 million a year off the table for partisan gain is extremely myopic. Maybe $50 million isn’t a lot to the Grand Old Party, but to hard-hit working-class families in New Jersey, it could be the difference between being able to afford to live in this State, or having to move elsewhere. Speaker Roberts should be commended for working to find cost savings, and his plan should get the benefit of full public review.”