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(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats on the Assembly Budget Committee released the following statements Tuesday after hosting a property tax roundtable and hearing from the Department of Community Affairs:
Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):
“In his first year in office, the governor cut local aid by $1.5 billion and all but eliminated property tax relief for seniors, the disabled and the middle class, driving up property taxes by 4.1 percent, the highest increase since 2007.
“The governor has failed to make true property tax relief for working class New Jerseyans a priority. Sadly, Gov. Christie is making matters worse by continuing his anti-middle-class policies and failing to provide a plan to fix New Jersey’s broken property tax system.”
Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen):
“We should not be placing the burden squarely on our middle-class, poor and those less fortunate, as we saw happen last year with the highest property tax hike since 2007. We should be working cooperatively to come up with a real plan to control property taxes.
“The time for slogans and blame is long past over. Taxpayers need relief.”
Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Hudson/Bergen):
“Let’s be clear – of the 22 bills tied to the governor’s plan, only two-thirds had any sort of fiscal impact, and the governor and his staff have still been unable to fully explain how any of these bills would bring real savings to taxpayers.
“That’s not the stuff of property tax cuts and major reform.”
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland):
“Eliminating rebates in 2010, slashing them in 2011, cutting off enrollment in the Senior Freeze program and chopping state aid by $1.5 billion is not a plan for property tax relief. It’s a recipe for trouble, and that’s exactly what we got with last year’s property tax hikes.
“Taxpayers no longer want to see their officials casting blame. They want cooperation and results, so hopefully the Christie administration is ready for a new approach that will prove helpful to millions of New Jerseyans struggling under this property tax hikes.”
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen):
“Today proved once again that this administration has no plan to help working class New Jerseyans with property taxes. The rich are certainly enjoying their tax cut, but the middle-class and poor are getting nothing more than slogans and sound bites.
“The governor has vetoed several Democratic property tax reform measures, but the time for politics is over. Let’s hope the governor’s office can start anew and work cooperatively to benefit the taxpayers, rather than repeating the highest property tax hike since 2007.”
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“What’s clear is that the governor’s policies have resulted in the highest property tax hike in four years, put public safety at risk in our cities and benefited but one group – the wealthy.
“We need a cooperative, bipartisan effort to control property taxes, not one built on accusation that ignores the fact that massive cuts in state aid to municipalities and schools have negative consequences on the quality of life of working class residents.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer):
“Today quite simply drives home the point that this governor has shown no regard for working class residents. He has no property tax relief plan for the middle-class and poor, yet is more than willing to protect tax cuts for millionaires.
“Hopefully the governor is willing to embark on a new approach that will actually prove helpful to working class New Jerseyans.”