Battle over “tool kit” begins

Assembly Republicans took aim today at their counterparts across the aisle for holding hearings on last summer’s budget cuts rather than addressing the governor’s 33 point tool kit.

“My Democrat colleagues in the Assembly voted in favor of the Cap 2.0 legislation in July, but have done nothing since to forge ahead in the effort to make property tax relief happen,” said Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco.  “Today’s agendas plainly show they are more interested in playing politics than governing, and is why the public has a jaded view of their ability to lead.”

Last summer, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) assigned 12 lawmakers the task of dissecting the tool kit items with an eye toward tweaking them this fall.  Republicans have accused the 12 of shirking their responsibilities and continuing to operate in “summer mode.”

Monday, only 8 of the assembly’s 13 committees met, and none had the tool kit on the agenda, the GOP said.

But Democrats say their legislators were hard at work this summer and are prepared to introduce tax-saving legislation.

“It’s easy to see why Republicans don’t want to talk about the massive property tax increases and tuition hikes they’ve pushed onto New Jersey families who remain worried about jobs and health care while millionaires enjoy their Christie tax cut,” said Assembly Democrats spokesman Tom Hester Jr. ” Assembly Democrats have been working all summer on devising property tax reforms, and will very soon move meaningful bills that actually save taxpayer money, as opposed to some of the empty ideas mindlessly pushed by Republicans.”

Hester said several lawmakers held roundtable discussions of the tool kit bills over the summer and all worked hard to improve the measures they were given.

The so-called tool kit is the package of bills proposed by Gov. Chris Christie to aid municipalities in implementing the property tax hike cap passed with bi-partisan support last summer.  Without the tool-kit, the cap could be a disaster as municipalities will have no way to stem soaring costs.

Monday, the senate began discussions of some of the items in committee, while the assembly chose to wait.

  Battle over “tool kit” begins