NJ Dems budget plan holds tax hike for millionaires, $1.8 billion for pension system

 A large crowd of mostly public employee union members fill the plaza and street in front of the Statehouse last month in Trenton, protesting pension funding reductions. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

A large crowd of mostly public employee union members fill the plaza and street in front of the Statehouse last month in Trenton, protesting pension funding reductions. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Just nine days before the deadline for a new state budget, Democrats who control New Jersey’s Legislature are proposing a spending plan with some tax increases.

The plan calls for contributing $1.8 billion more to the public employees pension system than the governor proposed.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo said a tax surcharge on income over $1 million and a 15 percent surcharge on the corporate business tax would generate the needed revenue.

“Nobody wants to take these measures, but, at the end of the day, we have an obligation to make this pension payment,” said Sarlo, D-Bergen.

Business groups oppose the proposed tax hikes, said New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken.

“They are counterproductive, will not solve the economic problems of our state, and, in fact, they will make matters worse,” he said Monday. “We continue to play these unproductive political games while the New Jersey economy suffers.”

Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said the “millionaires tax” would hurt small businesses.

“Even the mention of something like a millionaires tax has a chilling effect and will cause them to right now freeze any actions as they are in the process of looking to reinvest in the state of New Jersey,” she said.

Democrats are proposing the tax increase knowing full well that Gov. Chris Christie will veto it, said Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick.

“I think they feel pressure from the public unions to take some strong action to push back at the governor. There are people running for governor in 2017,” said Bramnick, R- Union. “I think they’re compelled to push back at Chris Christie.”

A vote on the budget bill is expected later this week. Bramnick said no Republicans will support it.

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