Property vs. income tax cuts debated during Assembly budget hearing

CAMDEN – The executive vice president and CEO of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce asked the Assembly Budget Committee to support the governor’s proposed 10 percent income tax cut today, sparking a debate during the committee hearing about which plan to support – the governor’s income tax cut proposal or the Senate majority’s proposed property tax cut.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-36), Passaic, asked Kathleen Davis of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce why she, this year, supports an income tax cut when in previous years she has testified in favor of a property tax cut.

“That’s what’s being proposed (in the budget),” Davis said.

Davis echoed her testimony from last week’s Senate budget hearing when she said the proposed budget is “good for business,” adding that the budget proposes almost doubling business tax incentives from $184 million to $347 million.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, (D-7), Mount Laurel, asked why the Chamber wouldn’t support the property tax cut, which he said would put more money in customers’ pockets.

“The fact that we’re talking about any tax relief is wonderful…the proposal in the budget is the one we’re responding to now,” Davis said in response. “We’d be happy to have a seat at the table to talk about property taxes, too.”

Davis said the Chamber would oppose a rise in taxes for the state’s top earners. The Star-Ledger reported that the Democrats might try to put the issue of the millionaires tax on the ballot in 2013 – the same year Gov. Chris Christie is up for re-election.

The chair of the committee, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, asked why the Chamber would oppose a tax increase for only approximately 16,000 residents in the state.

“When you look at the top earners in the state, those are the folks that are bringing the jobs to New Jersey,” Davis said. “Those are the folks making the decisions on where to locate or expand their businesses. When you reach deeper and deeper into their pockets…that’s going to weigh (on their) decision to continue to operate in New Jersey or expand in New Jersey.”

“Both sides want lower taxes,” said Assemblyman Gary Chiusano, (R-24), Sparta, adding that he thinks not cutting the income tax would result in more businesses fleeing the Garden State. He said that when he drives near Sparta on Route 78 into Pennsylvania, he sees many new businesses popping up on the other side of the border. “We are overtaxed and overregulated,” he said.

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Property vs. income tax cuts debated during Assembly budget hearing