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Sweeney Pushes Tax Relief Plan, Zings Christie, at Town Hall

West Deptford taxpayers will save about $350 more on average under Democrats' plan compared to Gov. Chris Christie's, New Jersey's senate president says.

Gov. Chris Christie may say that he and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney agree on property tax relief, but don’t believe it, Sweeney told a town hall Monday evening.

The Democrat spent much of the town hall distancing himself from Christie, saying that the governor’s tax relief plan is too complicated and focuses more on helping wealthy New Jersey taxpayers, not the middle class.

Christie touts “an income tax plan where 95 percent of the money goes to the wealthy,” Sweeney said. “My plan, the Senate plan, all of the money goes to the middle class because it’s capped at $250,000 (annual income).”

Sweeney hosted the town hall at Camden County College to promote his plan with fellow Democrats, state Senators Fred Madden and James Beach. Between the three districts, the senators represent much of Camden and Gloucester counties, as well as part of Burlington, Cumberland and Salem.

The plan “isn’t really complicated. It isn’t sexy. It’s pretty simple,” Sweeney said. Take your property tax bill, provided you earn less than $250,000, and divide it by 10—that’s the savings the Democrats’ bill offers, he said.

Christie’s plan relies on a series of calculations that uses income, annual property taxes, income tax deductions and multipliers and subtractors to arrive at a savings, Sweeney said. But the bottom line, he added, is that more New Jerseyans will save with the Democrats’ plan.

Charts displayed average savings town-by-town in a comparison of the Democrat vs. Christie plan. In West Deptford, the Democrat plan would save taxpayers $499 on average, compared to $147 under Christie.

New Jersey Senate Democrats have a comparison savings calculator at their website, Real Relief.

“If you put money in the hands of people that actually need it, they spend it. And that means the tax cut goes back into the economy, which helps create jobs,” Sweeney said. Wealthy people tend to save, not spend, the money, he added. “Give those tax cuts to the middle class and they’ll actually go out and spend. That’s when tax cuts really work.”

Since taking office, Christie has sliced taxes for the wealthy, while average property tax bill has shot up 20 percent, Sweeney said.

There didn’t appear to be much dissent among the 60 town hall attendees, if lack of push back is any indication. Instead, the freewheeling Q&A offered a snapshot into the minds of residents and their concerns.

There was the 23-year resident of Cherry Hill who already knows she can’t afford to retire in New Jersey. And the senior citizens who asked about cutting taxes for residents who don’t have children in the school systems. The mom who spoke through tears over what she calls the “politicization” of public education in New Jersey. And the man who said Democrats need to fight Christie’s feistiness—often on display when someone publicly argues with the governor—with their own sound bites.

Most comments seemed to carry the same general theme.

“As a family, we only have a set amount of dollars and we have to spend them wise,” a Cherry Hill man said. “I just want the government to spend my money wise too.”

Sweeney tried to address individual concerns, but often turned the debate back to Christie and his administration, saying that the governor prioritizes the wealthy over the middle class. Property tax relief must not follow that path, Sweeney insisted.

“This isn’t the perfect solution—there’s more work to be done,” Sweeney conceded about the Democrats’ plan. “But when you have the ability to help some people, this is the fastest way and the easiest way to do it.”

Tom Stanton April 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
All this story does is pushes the Democrat agenda. Here we go again, the attack on the "rich". How about this... cut taxes on everybody! Why do we keep pressing this class warfare? If we cut taxes across the board, that will help each individual, not just the "middle class". Let me remind you that taxes are a way that the government takes money out of our pockets by force, we have no choice to pay or not pay. A tax cut is simply "allowing" us to keep our own money. Let me also remind you that Mr. Sweeney is the one who was and is fighting for the unions, specifically going against our Governor with the NJEA, who are nothing but a drag on our taxes. If we really want to save the tax payers money, Mr. Sweeney, let's make New Jersey a right to work state. That would save an incredible amount of taxes which will put more money into the tax payer's pockets, which will in turn help the economy which your Democrat friends ran into the ground. Mr. Sweeney is a political "lethal weapon". He and his cronies are killing the economy. He is only as powerful as the voters allow him to be. As for his bench press, who cares. I thought we are on a crusade to stop bullying. It kind of sounds like if we don't care for what Mr. Sweeney stands for, we'll be forced to. I bet Mr. Sweeney's wing tipped shoes are nicely licked clean by mentalmidget.
Samantha McCall April 04, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I thank God I don't see him bench at Riverwinds in the morning, I would like to start my day on a pleasant note, and not have to look at that man.
Disillusionment April 05, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Well, since taxes are theft I suppose we ought to cut everyone's taxes. You can hire your own police department for protection and investigative purposes. Need a fire put out? Hope you can foot the bill. Hope you don't care that the local road company doesn't do a great job keeping up with the pavement, but hey, it's the free market and it's up to you to choose to pay to use their roads! It's their property, after all! Good luck getting that private court to hold the private water company accountable for contamination - better hope they don't have more money to pay with! And have fun buying anything with any guarantee of quality or safety - keep your regulations out of my business! I'd rather be confused reading countless articles from private consumer awareness agencies with no ability to hold anyone accountable! Oh, and I'm sure should you end up bankrupt, everyone will most certainly gather the donations to help you out - what a nice safety net to have the most unfortunate!
Ernest Kraus April 05, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Reduce the spending; that will reduce the taxes.
Jim Salters April 05, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Looks like our county democratic freeholders cut spending and taxes once again this year for the seventh year in a row. Great work

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