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N.J. Senate President to Pitch Tax Cut for Middle Class

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March 6 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the state’s highest-ranking Democratic lawmaker, will unveil a tax-reduction plan for middle-class residents as Republican Governor Chris Christie pushes a 10 percent across-the-board cut in income-tax rates.

Sweeney scheduled a news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton at 3 p.m., the same time Christie plans to hold a town-hall meeting in Ocean Township on his proposal. The West Deptford Democrat, in a press advisory, said his plan would “provide middle-class families up to 11 times more tax relief than the scheme proposed by the governor.”

Christie, 49, began a series of public meetings in January to press his case for hastening what he calls “the Jersey comeback.” Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature, have said Christie’s proposal favors the wealthy, and that he should focus on easing the property-tax burden.

New Jersey residents pay the highest property taxes in the U.S. Their bills averaged $7,759 in 2011, up 2.4 percent from 2010, according to the state Department of Community Affairs.

Under Christie’s tax-cut plan, someone earning $50,000 would pay $80 less while a person making $1 million would save $7,200, according to calculations distributed by Democrats.

Telephone calls to Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Senate Budget Committee member Jeff Van Drew, all Democrats, weren’t immediately returned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Trenton at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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