Millionaire’s tax clears budget panel

TRENTON – The Assembly Budget Committee released a bill that almost assuredly will be vetoed by the governor: the millionaire’s tax.

A3201 passed 8-4 along party lines.

Opponents included the N.J. Chamber of Commerce, which said it will discourage job creation in a state that already has one of the highest top tax rates in the country.

“It hurts our competitiveness,’’ said David Brogan, first vice president of the N.J. Business and Industry Association. “It is a tax on small businesses.’’

But Committee Chair Vincent Prieto reminded everyone this is – unlike the previous now-lapsed millionaire’s tax – a bill that specifically targets millionaires.

But Republican Declan O’Scanlon said this is bad policy, “a job killing effort.”

Republican Anthony Bucco said this is like a bad horror movie in which you think the victim has escaped a killer only to see a hand emerge and grab the victim at the last second. This millionaire’s tax, he said, is coming back just when jobs are starting to be created in a rough economy.

However, Democrat John Burzichelli said “we don’t have deca-millionaires showing up at the Statehouse in placards saying they have to leave the state.”

And Democrat Gary Schaer said in light of the largest budget in N.J. history, considering that there are no new taxes in it and in need of fiscal responsibility, considering the state will borrow for transportation trust work and can’t meet pension obligations, this is a partial but necessary solution.

Along with that bill, a bill devoting nearly $800 million toward property tax relief was approved strictly along party lines.

A3202 would put $789 million toward tax relief and revise income eligibility requirements.

The bill would restore rebates for senior citizens and disabled residents and would increase income eligibility from $75,000 to $100,000 for non-senior citizens.  

The Republicans on the committee voted against it.

“We are making promises we have no way to keep,” Republican Assembly budget officer O’ Scanlon said.

Prieto countered that Gov. Chris Christie was the one who was giving false hope by suggesting an income tax cut despite the fact revenues are not living up to expectations.  

Millionaire’s tax clears budget panel