Republican state Assembly members unveil plan on how to use billions in surplus

Republicans in the New Jersey Assembly unveiled their plan on how to use billions of dollars that New Jersey will see in surplus over the next two years.
The plan, unveiled on Tuesday, includes direct checks to New Jersey residents and income tax cuts. It comes as Democrats focus more on direct property tax rebate checks.
“This is the people’s money. This is now New Jersey’s money,” Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio says. “The money is better off in the real New Jersey economy, not in the hands of the government.”
The totals of the plan include: $1.2 billion in direct cash relief, $4 billion in income tax cuts and $470 million in school aid.
“Obviously, New Jerseyans have been overtaxed – greatly overtaxed. I mean, my God, you talk about over 60 tax increases in the last five years. Add it up,” DiMaio says.
Democratic State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says he is working on an expansion of Gov. Phil Murphy's ANCHOR property tax rebate program.
“It should be a large and considerable amount,” Coughlin says.
DiMaio says he is open to that idea. But he also wants to see hundreds of millions in taxes paid by energy companies to go back into the towns. He says that right now that tax money is seized by the state. He says the towns can use the funds to lower local property taxes.
“If we’re smart in how we appropriate money – and we are smart in how we look at programs – and we fund what we need to fund, this can be done and it will make it a lot easier for people who can afford to live in Jersey,” DiMaio says.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are also talking about using the surplus to increase the state’s savings in the future.
The bill to restore much of the Energy Tax Receipts to towns passed unanimously in the state Senate in March. Democratic leaders in the Assembly have not yet scheduled it for a hearing or a vote.