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N.J. Can’t Afford Christie Tax Cut, Senate President Says

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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey can’t afford the 10 percent income-tax cut said to be planned by Republican Governor Chris Christie in the coming year, Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney said.

Christie, 51, will make a second attempt at passing the proposal for an across-the-board income-tax cut as part of the agenda for his second term, according to Robert Grady, chairman of the New Jersey governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, speaking yesterday at an economic seminar. Democratic lawmakers stymied a tax cut last year.

Sweeney said legislative support for the tax reduction would hinge on whether the state can afford it and whether the governor agrees to restore property-tax rebates and credits for the working poor. The income-tax cut would mean less state funding for municipalities, forcing local governments to raise property taxes to compensate, he said.

“At the end of the day, numbers don’t lie -- we don’t have the money,” Sweeney said in Atlantic City, where he spoke to a convention of mayors sponsored by the New Jersey League of Municipalities. “If we have have money left over after we do these things, we can talk.”

Last year, Christie proposed the cut and later agreed to a plan by Sweeney to reduce property taxes. Democrats refused to release money for the cut after they said revenue growth didn’t support the cost of the program. Sweeney said Christie is re-starting the program ahead of a potential presidential run in 2016.

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Atlantic City, New Jersey at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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