OLIVER & SWEENEY: TIME FOR GOP TO STOP CODDLING MILLIONAIRES

SWEENEY & OLIVER: ELECTION, Q POLL SHOULD BE WAKE-UP CALL TO GOP THAT CODDLING MILLIONAIRES IS BAD POLICY AND EVEN WORSE POLITICS

TRENTON – On the heels of an election and a new poll that both show the overwhelming support of New Jerseyans for truly “shared sacrifice,” Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver said it’s time for Republicans to recognize their knee-jerk opposition to reinstating a true “millionaires tax” is making for bad policy and even worse politics.

Yesterday, a new Quinnipiac University poll registered more than two-to-one support for a surcharge on incomes in excess of $1 million – 68 percent overall support. In addition to the support from 82 percent of Democrats, the millionaires tax was backed by 67 percent of unaffiliated voters, and nearly 40 percent of identified Republicans. The 40-percent margin of support was the strongest-ever registered by the poll.

That poll came a week after Democrats maintained a 24-16 hold on the Senate and expanded the party’s Assembly majority to 48-32. The leaders noted that under the new legislative map, the governor actually carried 20 of the legislative districts in his 2009 election – including five where Democrats retained seats – and came within a percentage point of winning three other districts currently held by Democrats.

“If the election wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for Republicans that the middle class is tired of their constant coddling of millionaires, then these poll results should be leaving an even louder ringing in their ears,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “For two years, middle-class families and seniors have seen their tax burdens grow, while millionaires continue to enjoy tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks. Independent research has shown that GOP opposition to the millionaires tax doesn’t have a policy leg to stand on, and the election and this poll have ganged-up to show it doesn’t have a political leg to lean on, either.”

“These poll results show the governor and Republicans to be increasingly out-of-touch with New Jersey,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “They should also serve as a wake up call for any notion they have of clinging to their failed economic philosophy of protecting tax cuts for the wealthy over property tax relief for the middle-class and poor. New Jerseyans know that asking millionaires to help a little bit more in this difficult economy is simply the fair thing to do, especially when working class residents continue to struggle to make ends meet under Gov. Christie’s property tax hikes and service cuts.”