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Senate President Steve Sweeney. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Sweeney not biting on millionaire’s tax deal

Governor offered $250 million in property tax relief in exchange for tax on high earners

By Nikita Biryukov, May 07 2019 1:07 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney isn’t biting on Gov. Phil Murphy’s offer of property tax relief in exchange for a millionaire’s tax.

“For this Governor, the millionaire’s tax is just a talking point,” Sweeney said Tuesday. “First, he said he needed it to balance the budget. He didn’t. Now he says he wants it because he has suddenly discovered that property taxes are an issue after years of saying that high property taxes are not a problem because New Jerseyans get ‘value’ for their taxes. We need a real budget with long-term, sustainable property tax savings, not gimmicks.”

On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would put $250 million in excess revenues to property tax relief if the legislature passed the millionaire’s tax he’s seeking to implement in this year’s budget.

Democratic legislative leaders opposed such a measure last year, instead pushing a hike to the state’s corporate business tax.

Sweeney credited the surge in revenue to the latter tax, which imposed 2.5% surcharge on the state’s businesses during last year’s budget fight. After two years, that surcharge will fall two 1.5%.

It was not immediately clear where the excess revenue came from or how much excess revenue there was.

“The unexpected surge in revenues the Governor is now claiming is the surge the Legislature expected when we imposed a 2.5 percent surcharge on the millionaire and billionaire corporations that benefited directly from the Republican Congress’ tax cut,” Sweeney said. “It is the Corporation Business Tax surcharge we imposed that has been coming in far over the Administration’s revenue projections – just as the Legislature said it would.”

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