N.J. Democrats to offer budget alternative

    Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature have decided to introduce their own state budget proposal.

    Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono said the Democrats’ plan is an alternative to the $29.4 billion budget Gov. Chris Christie proposed in February.

    “The budget reflects the Democratic vision that looks out for the working men and women of New Jersey, looks out for the vulnerable in our population, looks out for senior citizens who are in need of property tax relief,” Buono said.

    Democratic legislative leaders would not provide any specifics Wednesday of the programs they would restore or how they’d get the money to pay for them.

    “It’s too premature to talk abut any specifics,” said Sen. Paul Sarlo, chairman of the budget committee. “But we have a general concept, a general outline on spending priorities, some additional cuts, some additional revenues, that truly will reflect the values of the middle class and the hard working people of New Jersey.”

    Sarlo also would not say whether the Democrats’ plan calls for restoring an income tax surcharge on millionaires.

    A hearing on the plan is scheduled for Monday. The state constitution requires a new budget be adopted and signed into law by July 1.

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