Sweeney: Senate tax cut plan benefits middle class

TRENTON  – The Senate president touted a property tax cut plan today that he said is simple and based on the same figures that the governor said would make an income tax cut doable.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said that under the upper chamber plan, those earning less than $250,000 would benefit; those earning more than that will not.

The eligible taxpayers, under the Senate plan, would receive a 10 percent property tax cut in the form of a credit on their income tax. For example, someone earning $50,000 a year would save an average of $600.

The proposal would be phased in over four years on property taxes paid up to $10,000, for incomes up to $250,000.

For 2012, it would amount to a $100 property tax credit. For the ensuing three years, the credit would go from 4 percent, to 8 percent, to 10 percent.

“This is about getting money to people who need it the most,’’ he said. He said the Senate Democrats’ plan helps the middle class, whereas the Democrats repeatedly have said the governor’s income tax cut plan helps the wealthy.

The Assembly Democrats earlier today unveiled their own plan, which includes the Democrats’ longstanding call for the millionaire’s tax.  The Senate plan does not.

“They have a right to their plan,’’ Sweeney said. “We don’t always have to agree. We are trying to get the most amount of money to those who need it the most.’’

Sweeney said that when you put money back in the hands of lower-income residents they spend it and drive the economy forward, while millionaires tend to put it in the bank.

“The governor has coddled millionaires from the day he got into office.’’

Sweeney emphasized that his plan works off revenues the governor says are available.

The Republicans struck back immediately.

Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr. said Sweeney is performing an about-face.

“For the eight years that Democrats held complete control in Trenton, they attacked the middle class and raised the cost of living in New Jersey with 115 tax and fee increases on everything from owning your home, commuting to work or vacationing down the shore,” Kean said in a release.

“Property taxes spiked by 60 percent and property tax rebates diminished when the economy soured and people needed relief the most.”

Saying that Sweeney’s “about-face’’ is welcome, Kean said what is needed now is a bipartisan approach like the one that led to the 2 percent property tax cap.

The Assembly Democrats say their plan would help 95 percent of New Jersey homeowners and provide a maximum credit of $2,000, with the average family in line to receive a $1,552 credit that would provide relief against property taxes that they said have soared a net 20 percent under Christie.

 Previous coverage:

Dems roll out tax credit proposal numbers

Dems propose property tax relief credit

  Sweeney: Senate tax cut plan benefits middle class