Late last month, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) followed through on his threat to veto a millionaire’s tax passed by the state legislature. The bill would have implemented a surcharge on income above $1 million, raising $635 million to fund property tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled (among other programs).
New Jersey Democrats are planning to hold a vote to override Christie’s veto today, but lockstep opposition from the state’s Republicans is rendering success unlikely. As the Newark Star-Ledger reported, “Republican leaders have vowed not a single GOP vote will flip.”
The end result of Christie’s veto, if it is not overridden, will be to increase taxes on seniors while cutting them for the wealthy. In fact, according to the state’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, “a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see an increase of $1,320 in taxes under the governor’s plan while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598.”
As Citizens for Tax Justice added, “there is glaring hypocrisy in Christie using his anti-tax pledge to justify his veto of the millionaire’s tax”:
While Christie has no appetite for tax increases on the wealthiest New Jerseyans, he continues to support a reduction in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for hard-working low-income taxpayers (which amounts to a tax increase) and increases in fees in addition to his proposed suspension of property tax rebates for older adults and the disabled. And, his more than $1.2 billion cuts in aid to local governments and school districts will more than likely force local leaders to increase property taxes — the very taxes he claims he wants to “control”.
“New Jerseyans are going to need a thesaurus to decipher all the ways Governor Christie’s administration is trying to insist their budget plan doesn’t increase taxes on senior citizens and working-class New Jerseyans,” said state Rep. Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood). “Call them what they may, this budget would mean this simple fact — senior citizens, the middle class and the poor are about to pay significantly more while the wealthy enjoy a nice tax cut.”
New Jersey is facing a $10.7 billion budget deficit, which, at 37.4 percent of the current year’s budget, is the second-highest in the country behind Nevada. But failing to accept the millionaire tax is not the only way in which Christie is mucking up his state’s tax policy. He has also proposed a cap on property taxes which, if implemented, would lead to massive cuts in funding for education and other vital services, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.