‘Sandy bill of rights,’ tax control on N.J. Dems’ agenda

A day after Gov. Chris Christie outlined his objectives in his State of the State message, Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Legislature were setting their priorities for the new two-year session.

A top goal is controlling property taxes, said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto.

“I want to see if we can bring experts in, that they can tell us what other states are going, things that might work, things that may not work in this state, but we’re going to look at it,” he said. “The answer, I’m not too sure.”

Prieto also intends to push for improved vocational training so children who don’t go to college have the opportunity to make a good living in construction and other trades.

One of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s priorities is enacting a Hurricane Sandy “bill of rights” that would allow storm victims to know the status of their applications for financial aid.

“We owe it to the people of this state to advance a bill that ensure people that have been devastated the ability to at least know what’s going on,” he said Wednesday.

And Sweeney said he wants to see pay equity for women.

“Think about it. In 2014, a man goes out and does a job, and a woman goes out and does a job, and they get paid different,” he said. “That is wrong, and in 2014 we need to end that practice, and we will in the state of New Jersey.”

Other priorities for the Democrats making college more affordable and restoring the earned-income tax credit for the working poor.

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