Party lines on display in Assembly budget debate

TRENTON – The Assembly began debate on the FY2013 $31.74 billion budget by providing sharp contrasts along party lines.

Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto said – as did his Senate Democratic colleagues earlier in the day – this is a fiscally responsible budget that restores the earned income tax credit and has room for a tax cut if the revenues can support it.

“It has to be an affordable tax cut that we can pay for,’’ he said. “We want to make sure the money comes in before we spend it.’’

He said the budget needs to focus on property tax credits, not the income tax the governor proposed earlier this year that would have disproportionately benefited the wealthier residents.

Republican Declan O’Scanlon, however, said his party can’t support this “end product.’’

“The priorities expressed in this budget are completely out of whack” with what the residents need, he said.

He said this budget is predicated on enacting a tax hike, the millionaire’s tax, which sends the wrong message.

He said it has a hundred million dollars in items such as debt reduction and the state does not know where such money will come from if this budget passes.

Party lines on display in Assembly budget debate