New Jersey lawmakers are starting to question Christie Administration officials about the details of the governor’s budget plan.
But there’s one thing there is no question about: Gov. Chris Christie will not sign a budget that contains an income tax surcharge on millionaires. That message was relayed to the Assembly Budget Committee Tuesday by state Treasurer Andrew Eristoff.
The treasurer also testified before the committee about Christie’s plan to seek federal approval for a change to Medicaid.
The governor hopes to get a waiver from the federal government that would allow the state to save $300 million by overhauling Medicaid.
Assemblywoman Joan Quigley pushed Eristoff to provide specifics.
“If you can’t start saving the money until you get the approval, suppose you don’t get the approval for another six, nine, twelve months, how much are you going to save then?” said Quigley.
“If we’re in that position we will just have find a way to balance our budget as is necessary,” he replied.
Eristoff said he thinks the state will get the waiver that would give it the flexibility to determine which Medicaid programs to fund.
The treasurer also urged lawmakers to approve the governor’s tool kit proposals to help towns and cities control costs.
But, committee chairman Lou Greenwald said the tool kit will not provide major property tax relief for working class New Jerseyans.
“If the fiscal information provided by the information on the tool kit is accurate, it’s somewhere between state savings and revenue increases between $250,000 and $288,000,” said Greenwald. “We’re spending over $20 billion on property taxes a year. It is a Band-Aid.”
Members of Christie’s cabinet face questions on the budgets of individual state departments over the next several weeks.