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(TRENTON) – Assembly Democratic budget committee members released the following statements on Wednesday:

Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):

“It’s becoming absolutely painful to listen to the grammatical gymnastics being used by Gov. Christie’s administration as it tries its best to talk its way around a budget loaded with tax and fee increases on senior citizens, the middle-class and the poor. Whether Gov. Christie’s team chooses to call their tax hikes a ‘loss of benefit’ or a ‘user fee’ or whatever other agonizing term they’ve devised, the reality is that life is going to get a lot more expensive for senior citizens, the middle-class and the poor under the Christie plan.

“We should all have a lively debate on our differing philosophies on public policy, but facts are indisputable, and it’s time for Gov. Christie to move past his sound bites and acknowledge his tax-laden plan will make it even more difficult for senior citizens and average New Jerseyans to make ends meet.”

Assembly Budget Vice Chairman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen/Essex):

“If a tax is a fee levied by a government on a product, income or activity, then Gov. Christie’s budget is full of them. Senior citizens would pay more in property taxes. Working families would pay more in property and income taxes. Businesses would pay more in filing fees. Students would pay more in higher tuitions.

“No matter what the governor wants to call it, these would be painful tax increases on senior citizens and working class New Jerseyans who can least afford to pay more as the rich get richer.”

Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen):

“Gov. Christie’s tax and fee increases on senior citizens and working class families are going to be painful no matter what name the administration wants to give them. The public deserves better than to be given a budget plan packed with tax and fee hikes on the middle-class and poor while Gov. Christie protects tax cuts for millionaires.

“Whether it be Gov. Christie’s plans to slash property tax relief, boost income taxes on the working poor or tax senior citizens with new and higher prescription drug fees, this is a plan that seniors citizens and the middle-class cannot afford while the rich get richer.”

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Hudson):

“Gov. Christie’s administration can argue all it wants that it’s not increasing taxes, but senior and disabled citizens who would get no property tax relief this year after getting $1,295 last year will think otherwise. So will the senior citizen who wouldn’t qualify for the Senior Freeze property tax relief program. So will the working class family who would lose their income tax credit. So will the business owner who would pay 25 percent more in filing fees.

“Language games aside, this is a tax-laden budget that would hit working families and senior citizens hard as the governor protects tax cuts for millionaires.”

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem):

“Senior citizens who are about to lose $1,295 in property tax relief certainly won’t care what the increase is called, but there’s no denying they’re about to pay significantly more under Gov. Christie’s budget.

“Gov. Christie, through his veto, just ensured millionaires won’t lose less than 1 percent of their income, yet he backs requiring lower-income senior citizens to lose – at least – more than 3 percent of their income through increased property taxes. That’s not fair. That’s not equitable.

“During his budget address, Gov. Christie said, ‘If you tax them, they will leave.’ He may have meant the wealthy, but under his budget, it would be senior citizens and the middle-class who will be fleeing our state.”

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen):

“New Jerseyans are going to need a thesaurus to decipher all the ways Gov. Christie’s administration is trying to insist their budget plan doesn’t increase taxes on senior citizens and working class New Jerseyans. 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.”

Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):

“Whether they’re called ‘user fees’ or ‘losses of benefits’ won’t matter much to the senior citizens, middle-class and businesses who will be paying a lot more under Gov. Christie’s budget plan as the wealthy get a tax cut. The facts are undeniable, and quite simply this is a budget loaded with tax and fee increases on senior and disabled citizens and the middle-class.”

Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Middlesex):

“Regardless of whether the Christie administration wants to acknowledge it, hard-working New Jerseyans and senior citizens are about to see tax and fee increases on just about everything that’s important to them. Under Christie’s budget, the middle-class, poor and senior citizens will be paying significantly more for their home, health care and education while the rich save thousands of dollars thanks to their tax cut.

“The administration may not want to recognize that, but facts are facts, and those facts show Gov. Christie protecting tax cuts for the rich while endorsing tax increases for everyone else.”

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