Bergen conflagration: McNerney chastises Donovan for opposing ‘millionaire’s tax’

Denouncing the Christie administration’s designs on scraping the millionaire’s tax, Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney today called on his GOP challenger, Clerk Kathleen Donovan, to stand up in favor of keeping the tax in place as a statement of middle class solidarity, a plan of action Donovan refused to endorse.

“At this point it sounds like Governor Christie will be recommending tax breaks for the rich and tax hikes for the rest of us,” said McNerney, battling to hold onto his county executive post a year after Gov. Chris Christie landed in office by beating Democrat Jon Corzine.

“Kathleen Donovan has been a politician for three decades, so she should know the ramifications mass transit fare hikes and massive education funding cuts will have for Bergen County taxpayers and their children,” McNerney said. “Ms. Donovan should join me in asking the Governor to reconsider his tax cut for the rich before they decide to make Bergen County’s middle class balance the state’s checkbook.” 

Donovan read McNerney’s entreaty as a tone deaf response to the state’s economic terrain.

“Mr. McNerney doesn’t get it,” she said. “He still wants to throw money at every problem he can think of. He still believes that taxing residents is the answer to everything. And he doesn’t undderstand that placing undue burdens on any one element of society ultimately forces greater burdens on everyone else.
“Taxes in New Jersey are confiscaory. Taxpayers who can are voting with their feet, and moving elewhere, leaving the burden to those who remain. Mr. McNerney’s populist rhetoric is totallyy transparent. Instead of adding to the tax burden of Bergen taxpayers, he should be cutting government and doing more with less. That’s what a Donovan administration will be doing starting Jan. 1, 2011.”
 
Bergen County GOP Chairman Bob Yudin backed up Donovan on the point. 

“I support the governor’s proposal,” he said. “One of the problems we have in New Jersey is that the people in high income brackets have moved out or are moving out of the state. We have consequently lost huge amounts of taxable income. What the governor is trying to do is get the tax structure back so people will want to stay in New Jersey and not flee to Florida.”

But McNerney hammered the issue.

“Recent newspaper reports have indicated that the state will be eliminating $475 million in education aid for this year’s budget and $800 million for next year’s, mass transit lines will be cut across the county and one way fares will increase by as much as $1.50 for residents while Governor Christie will eliminate the ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ on the state’s income

earners making over $400,000 per year, removing hundreds of millions of dollars in budget revenue. 

“We have worked hard to make the Bergen County educational system among the best in the state while providing fiscal discipline and accountability for our residents,” added the Democrat. “The reports that the governor would like to take education surplus funding to balance this year’s budget and slash education aid for next year while providing tax cuts for the rich will leave local communities with debilitating program cuts, overcrowded classrooms, and higher local property taxes. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it is an issue that impacts residents all across the County.”

Donovan’s allies quietly said they believe McNerney’s early salvos prove he’s already in desperation mode as Democrats try to defend their stronghold here.

Bergen conflagration: McNerney chastises Donovan for opposing ‘millionaire’s tax’