TRENTON — Prior to a Monday’s session, where several bills from an anti-poverty initiative from Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) were on the board list, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-20) laid the blame for New Jersey’s dire financial straits at the Democratic majority’s feet. Bramnick and Assembly members Anthony Bucco (R-25) and Amy Handlin (R-13) joined him in saying that majority rule from tax-payers should determine spending.
“They examine Chris Christie day in and day out,” Bramnick said of the press, calling the state’s high property taxes the result of state spending approved by the opposing caucus. “I’m saying, just turn the mic on the legislature.”
One of Prieto’s bills would increase New Jersey’s Earned Income Tax Credit for low-wage workers to 40 percent of the federal amount, while others would introduce new interest-free loans to public employees and fund a ‘Breakfast after the Bell’ program. Pieces of his anti-poverty initiative would also call for extra-budgetary spending.
“Every time a bill gets introduced and passed that has spending outside of the budget, the only way that can be funded is on the backs of the tax-payers,” Bucco said.
“What are they doing today to lower property taxes? That’s the question,” Bramnick added, calling the day’s session “larded with spending bills that NJ can’t afford and devoid of a single, solitary bill that offers the slightest hope of lowering property taxes.”
Handlin called for the Assembly to post her bill to introduce procedures that would have voters move to strike down budget items with petitions and a subsequent ballot questions.
“The people would need to gather signatures that would equal eight percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election,” Handlin said of the bill. “It enables the voters to bypass this building altogether.”
Bucco, O’Scanlon and Handlin have all introduced similar bills, though none have been posted so far.
“From Cape May to High Point, poeple are desperate for us to make New Jersey affordable again,” said Bramnick. “We, the Republican caucus, are ready to help them.”