TRENTON – While Democratic leaders were glad to hear that Gov. Chris Christie will increase aid to schools and colleges, and that he will expand Medicaid, they were disappointed that little was said in his annual budget address about earned income tax credits, and they questioned his insistence for an income tax cut while postponing rebates for the state’s neediest citizens.
They said this is the beginning of the budget process and that the devil is in the details.
“He did not think about the people in this state who are earning below the poverty level,” Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-34), East Orange said at a press conference following the budget address today.
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, (D-6), of Voorhees, questioned Christie’s “platform speech,” particularly the governor’s calls for an income tax cut, when there aren’t enough funds to carry out the rebate program.
“If you can’t afford to fully fund the rebate, if you have to move almost $400 million in rebates to seniors from this year to next year, why would we be entertaining an income tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits 1 percent of the population?”
The re-election of President Obama last November, Greenwald said, showed that New Jerseyans “reject trickle-down economics.”
And Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, also questioned the move to postpone the rebates.
“The most vulnerable people in the New Jersey are not going to see any kind of relief,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be doing it on the back of the people who are most vulnerable and pushing off till next what you should be doing this year. Maybe if we had early-on hearings, we could have figured out how to not work with a gimmick.”
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