Democrats may try to tax millionaires….again

Even though Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill last year, some legislative Democrats are considering revisiting the so-called “millionaire’s tax” that they believe is needed to make up for revenues projected to be lost from various spending cuts.

While they said they want to hear the governor’s budget address Tuesday afternoon before committing to any plan, some prominent Democrats said the “millionaire’s tax” is on the radar.

“I want to include it,” said Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth. “I wanted it then, I want it now. I think there’s more support for it this year.”

The bill that was proposed last year would have increased the tax rate from 8.97 to 10.75 percent on households with a net annual income exceeding $1 million.

The tax would have affected 16,000 millionaires and raised about $637 million, according to projections from the Office of Legislative Services. Democrats had hoped to use the revenue to restore tax rebates and some programs for seniors and the disabled

For Lesniak, he said it’s only fair to ask the Garden State’s most well-heeled residents to contribute more money to the state’s coffers, since many of the less well-off residents already are.

“We have to make it clear that he includes the only group that has not been impacted by the economic downturn to be part of the ‘shared sacrifice,’” he said in a phone interview. “The poor and middle class are suffering.”

He said it’s too soon to say where the potential revenue would go. “We have to see what the proposals are and what areas need them the most,” he said.

Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, (D-20), Union, would only say the idea remains a possibility.

“We will continue to evaluate it,” he said. He added he wanted to hear the budget address before moving forward on any fiscal measures.

Christie quickly vetoed the millionaire’s tax after it passed both houses. The tax’s main sponsor last year, Senate President Steve Sweeney, was not immediately available for comment.

Chris James, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver, (D-34), East Orange, said they are discussing various ideas, but nothing has been finalized.

Democrats may try to tax millionaires….again