New Jersey Senate Democrats proposed a rival to Gov. Chris Christie’s budget plan that would make a full pension payment while raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
The proposal sets up a showdown with Christie, a second- term Republican who has proposed cutting $2.5 billion of pension contributions this year and next to make up for a revenue shortfall. Christie also has rejected Democratic lawmakers’ past efforts to increase taxes.
“This is a reasonable way to move forward and present a budget that meets all of our obligations,” Sweeney, a West Deptford Democrat, told reporters in Trenton today.
Sweeney said the higher taxes would raise $1.57 billion. He said his proposal comes from just the Senate, not the Assembly, and that he hasn’t submitted it yet to the governor’s office.
Lawmakers and Christie must pass a budget by July 1, the start of the fiscal year. Democrats control both houses of the legislature. Without a spending plan in place, state government may face a shutdown.
Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Christie, said he hasn’t seen Sweeney’s budget proposal and referred to comments the governor made about the budget earlier this week.
“I am not going to raise taxes on the people of New Jersey to pay for a broken, bloated pension system and a Cadillac health-care system,” Christie, 51, said in a radio interview.
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