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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney: ‘I didn’t cave’ on millionaire’s tax

Senate president fires back at Republican state chair

By Nikita Biryukov, September 22 2020 5:50 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney fired back at Doug Steinhardt after the Republican state chairman claimed he “caved” to Gov. Phil Murphy on the millionaire’s tax

“Listen, I got a lot of respect for Doug. I like Doug. I didn’t cave. I’m living in the realities of COVID right now,” Sweeney said during a press gaggle Tuesday. “It’s basically everyone’s all-in right now. If you’re in it together, you’re better than when you’re on your own.”

After two years of unsuccessful attempts, Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin finally agreed to back Murphy’s millionaire’s tax, a proposal that has become a signature for Murphy come budget season.

Steinhardt — who, like most every Republican in the legislature, opposes the millionaire’s tax — said Sweeney gave in to Murphy during his appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour Saturday.

“It’s ironic. Back in May of 2018, the Washington Post did an article. They were talking about how the millionaire’s tax had been proposed five times by the Democrats, knowing Chris Christie would veto it,” Steinhardt said. “Even Senator Sweeney back then said the state was taxed out and now he has since caved.”

The millionaire’s tax is only half the deal. The other half is a tax rebate of up to $500 for roughly 800,000 middle class New Jerseyans, those with a child making less than $75,000 annually, or $150,000 for joint filers.

Still, Sweeney isn’t singing the millionaire’s tax many praises.

“I don’t like it, but I don’t like COVID,” he said. “I don’t like what we’re dealing with. I don’t like cutting higher education. We restored all those things. We restored a ton of things that were cut, because if we don’t restore them, they just get passed through. Tough times.”

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