Assemblyman Gary Schaer on Wednesday moderated his support for a millionaire’s tax, saying he’d vote in favor of the proposal if it was posted and adding that he was willing to support a budget that did not include a millionaire’s tax.
“At this time, the Millionaire’s Tax does not have the support of either Legislative house and in light of our current circumstances, I am willing to support a State budget which does not include the Millionaire’s Tax,” Schaer said. “I look forward to working with Speaker Coughlin to craft a budget that funds our values and protects our working families. Supporting something that will never pass is a pyrrhic victory, but doing so at the expense of New Jersey families is no victory at all.”
There’s a small but important distinction between full-throatedly backing a millionaire’s tax and voting for one if it’s posted.
In the former case, votes are siphoned away from legislative leaders who are opposed to the measure. If legislative leaders can’t reach 41 and 21 votes in the Assembly and Senate, they can’t put a budget on Gov. Phil murphy’s desk.
Schaer is the second member of the Assembly to walk back a pro-millionaire’s tax stance.
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly endorsed the measure in May but on Tuesday said he believed the state could pass a budget without any tax increases.
The two defections mean Murphy again has just nine legislators on his side in the lower chamber.
Schaer is also the second Passaic County legislator to jump ship in as many days, something that doesn’t reflect the influence of his county chairman, Democratic State Chairman and Murphy ally John Currie.