MORIARTY FLOOR STATEMENT ON OVERRIDE VOTE ON GOV. CHRISTIE’S VETO OF CUTS TO SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Paul Moriarty’s floor statement, as prepared for delivery, on the override vote on Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of legislation Moriarty sponsored (A-20) to restore Christie’s cuts to property tax relief for senior and disabled citizens:

“Thank you, Madam Speaker.

“Here we go again, facing yet another very important discussion on the future of New Jersey’s senior and disabled citizens.

“We had this same discussion just one month ago, and we know the outcome.

“Gov. Christie proudly protected a massive tax cut for millionaires and gave senior and disabled citizens a massive property tax hike.

“Such was his zeal to protect that tax cut for millionaires and increase taxes on senior and disabled residents that he didn’t even take a few moments to reflect on the pain his decision would cause.

“Gov. Christie even felt the need to protect millionaires while he proposes a budget built on tax and fee increases on New Jersey’s poor and middle-class.

“It was a sad day for New Jersey, one that showed Gov. Christie does not believe in our shared value of protecting our vulnerable residents.

“Today, my friends, we have a chance to right that wrong.

“Let’s fix Gov. Christie’s mistake.

“Let’s do the right thing and stand up for our senior citizens.

“Everyone in this chamber today has the chance to steer New Jersey back toward a caring direction for our senior and disabled residents.

“For some of us, we will reaffirm our support to provide property tax relief and guaranteed prescription drug help for more than 600,000 elderly and disabled residents.

“For others, this is a chance to right a wrong and cast a different vote on behalf of senior and disabled residents staring down a Christie tax increase.

“This is a chance to show independence and cast a vote of conscience, not of politics.

“This is a chance to make the moral decision on behalf of more than 600,000 of our constituents whose quality of life is at risk under Gov. Christie’s plan.

“I said it before, and I will say it again.

“This is a defining moment.

“The people of New Jersey are watching.

“And they will find out for certain who stands for more than 600,000 senior citizens struggling to afford their medication and keep their homes and who stands for 16,000 millionaires simply being asked to join in the shared sacrifice.

“The simple fact is more than 600,000 senior citizens are staring down a huge property tax increase under Gov. Christie’s budget.

“That, like much of Gov. Christie’s budget proposal, is a tax increase on the poor and middle-class.

“Calling it anything else continues to be dishonest.

“An analysis by the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services reported that under the Christie plan, a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see a $1,320 increase in taxes while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598.

“Madam Speaker, who in this chamber can honestly say that’s fair?

“Democrats continue to be willing to work with the governor to solve our budget problems, but not at the expense of our most vulnerable senior citizens.

“This is a compassionate plan that ensures everyone shares in the sacrifice.

“Under the Democratic plan, senior and disabled residents would continue to receive as much as $1,295 in vital property tax relief that would help them keep their homes.

“So to my Republican colleagues, I ask you simply to show as much excitement protecting our senior and disabled citizens as Gov. Christie has shown protecting millionaires.

“Do not follow him down this path.

“New Jersey has always had a shared value of protecting our most vulnerable residents, especially our seniors.

“Please, do not walk away from that value.

“Do not walk away from fairness.

“Do not walk away from doing the right thing.

“Stand with the large majority of New Jerseyans who want millionaires to share in the sacrifice to help senior citizens and the disabled.

“Now, we’ve heard repeatedly from the naysayers that this legislation is nothing but theater.

“To them I say this – this is not theater to the more than 600,000 senior and disabled residents staring down a Christie tax hike.

“This is not theater to the seniors who have called my office, worried about how they will keep their homes.

“This is reality — a painful reality.

“And this is our chance to fix it.

“Calling it theater is an insult to the senior and disabled residents struggling daily to make ends meet.

“And I’ll also be interested in seeing how this debate unfolds, whether some try to derail it again with technical questions that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

“Then again, if I were in their shoes, I would also wouldn’t want to discuss how more than 600,000 senior and disabled citizens will pay more taxes this year while 16,000 millionaires get their tax cut.

“I sincerely ask you this question.

“If you vote against this bill, will you be able to get up every morning and look yourself in the mirror each day knowing that you twice backed tax cuts for millionaires over crucial property tax relief for senior and disabled New Jerseyans?

“Can you do that?

“Do you honestly think a nearly $12,000 tax break for millionaires is preferable over huge property tax increases for low-income senior and disabled citizens?

“This, Madam Speaker, remains a question of priorities.

“It’s a question of the definition of shared sacrifice.

“Our definition is everyone should share the pain of this difficult economy.

“Gov. Christie’s definition is that millionaires should be spared while the poor and middle-class get slammed.

“Gov. Christie’s priority is protecting the rich.

“Our priority is helping senior citizens.

“Let’s fix Gov. Christie’s mistake.

“Let’s do the right thing and stand up for our senior citizens.

“Madam Speaker, on behalf of the more than 600,000 senior and disabled residents staring down a massive tax increase under Gov Christie’s plan, I move this bill…

On the Net:
The Assembly Democratic Office Web site
NJ Assembly Dems on YouTube
NJ Assembly Dems on Vimeo
NJ Assembly Dems on Facebook
NJ Assembly Dems on Twitter
NJ Assembly Dems on Flickr
NJ Assembly Dems e-mail alerts