New Jersey Democrats present plan to end costly state shutdownPosted: Updated:
Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly presented their own plan to end an economically crippling government shutdown, which enters its sixth day Thursday.
Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts (D-Camden) met with Governor Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Wednesday night. Roberts emerged from the hour-long meeting saying both sides made some progress. Roberts, speaking on behalf of the Democratic majority, is willing to take the idea of a 1 percent income tax increase on New Jerseyans who make more than $200,000 annually off the table. Assembly Democrats also want to boost Corzine?s proposal for a surcharge on corporate income from 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent. However, Democrats still oppose the governor?s plan to increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. Lawmakers argue their plan would have less impact on average families, which would pay an estimated $275 yearly under the sales tax increase.
A budget committee is working with lawmakers to hammer out an agreement, which still appears far away. The shutdown is costing New Jersey about $1.3 million in casino taxes daily. Although the casinos are privately run, the shutdown affects them because government employees monitor their finances.
Corzine brought the government to a grinding halt Saturday after lawmakers failed to pass his budget, which he argues is needed to close the state?s $4.5 billion budget gap. State Republicans blame the Democratic majority and say lawmakers have made the Garden State the butt of jokes for state legislatures across the United States.
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