New Jersey lawmakers have voted along party lines to pass the $35 billion budget plan proposed by Democrats.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo said including a surcharge on the corporate business tax and income over a million dollars meets the state’s responsibility to make a full payment in the public employees pension system.
“Failing to make the full pension payment only will push the state deeper into a fiscal hole,” he said. “In the end, this is about meeting our obligations while also protecting working New Jerseyans.”
Sen. Tony Bucco, R-Morris, said the GOP could not support the tax hikes he said will mean layoffs and a migration of companies to states with lower taxes.
“These tax increase proposals will take money from the job creators that would otherwise be used to hire more workers, provides raises for hard-working employees, and offer valuable training for people in the workforce,” he said.
Bucco said lawmakers, the governor, and labor groups need to work on making the pension system affordable and sustainable.
Unions won’t agree to negotiations to make additional change until Christie makes the promised payments, said New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech.
The New Jersey director of the Communications Workers of America, the largest union representing the state’s public workers, said the unions will continue to fight for increased state pension contributions.
“We are really seriously looking at the issue of a constitutional amendment and we are demanding of elected officials that they take a position,” said union leader Hetty Rosenstein. “How they continue as elected officials is based upon their commitment.”