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N.J. Lawmaker Proposes Estate Tax Repeal, Millionaire’s Levy

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie rejected a Democratic plan to close a deficit that may top $2.7 billion over the next 13 months in part through a so-called millionaire’s tax.

Senator Ray Lesniak of Elizabeth said he plans to introduce a bill tomorrow that would enact a Republican-favored repeal of the state’s estate tax at the same time it would push the increased income levy sought by Democrats.

Such a compromise would net an additional $850 million in revenue, the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement. Lesniak had predicted he could get Republican support for the measure. Christie, a Republican, has twice vetoed Democratic efforts to reinstate the higher levies, which expired days before he took office in 2010.

“The governor has been emphatic that he will not raise taxes on already overburdened New Jersey taxpayers suffering from one of the harshest tax structures of any state in the country,” Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie, said by e-mail. “This is a non-starter, and the numbers don’t work to fix a problem of such magnitude.”

The second-term governor and lawmakers are searching for ways to close a deficit of as much as $875 million in the fiscal year that ends in less than three weeks, after income taxes fell short of the administration’s targets. Christie has proposed cutting the pension contribution to $696 million, less than half of the planned $1.58 billion. Public-worker unions have sued to block the move.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stacie Sherman in Trenton at sbabula@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net Jeffrey Taylor, Pete Young

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