Friday, March 23, 2012

Greenwald: ‘It’s Time for Middle-Class Property Tax Relief’

(TRENTON) – Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) had the following published in the Burlington County Times:

“Gov. Chris Christie’s recent budget address was quite the performance. He proclaimed New Jersey has turned the corner on unemployment and high property taxes. He pronounced “the New Jersey Comeback has begun.” He might as well have donned a flight suit and declared ‘Mission Accomplished!’
“Unfortunately, it was just more of the same for the governor — more 30-second sound bites instead of solutions, more handouts to millionaires instead of real relief to the middle-class. In fact, even the ratings agency Standard & Poors noted the recklessness of Christie’s budget, saying it is overly optimistic and structurally unbalanced.
“And that is precisely the problem with Christie’s proposed income tax cut; it makes for nice headlines and a hefty payday for millionaires but fails to provide meaningful relief to middle-class families.
“Assembly Democrats, however, have a plan to help struggling middle-class families — a 20 percent property tax relief credit to homeowners of the first $10,000 in property taxes paid for all homeowners earning up to $250,000 per year. Our plan would be phased in over four years, with significant relief to begin immediately, and it would be funded by asking New Jersey's millionaires to pay their fair share.
“The contrast between our plan and the governor's plan couldn't be clearer.
“Christie's plan would save a family earning $100,000 per year just $275, while millionaires get a tax break of $7,265.75. Under the governor's plan, middle-class families don't save enough for a week's worth of groceries, while millionaires save enough to take an exotic vacation.
“Under our plan, a family earning $100,000 per year that pays $8,000 in property taxes would receive $1,600 in tax relief, compared with the $275 under the governor's plan. Our plan provides real property tax relief to 95 percent of New Jersey homeowners, with the average family slated to receive a credit of $1,552 against its property taxes. And our plan strengthens relief for tenants while maintaining the Senior Freeze program that so many of our elderly and disabled residents rely on.
“Recent data show just how critical it is for us to attack the problem of nation-leading high property taxes. According to an analysis by New Jersey Spotlight, Christie's cuts to property tax rebates have meant net property taxes are 20 percent higher under him than they were before he assumed office. That's simply unacceptable.
“Democrats know that high property taxes are the cancer that is killing our state. It is the tax without a conscience. It is the tax that drives countless families to leave our state and stifles economic growth. It is the tax with the heaviest burden on middle-class families and senior citizens living on fixed incomes. And that is precisely why New Jersey needs the real property tax relief we have proposed.
“Simply put, now is not the time to give up on property tax relief, as the governor has done.
“In the coming days and months, we will undoubtedly have a robust debate on this important issue. Throughout the process, Democrats will remain focused on providing relief to the middle-class and working families in New Jersey struggling every day. Because under this governor, those are the families that truly need the help.”

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