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Poll: How Much of the Democrats’ Doomed Budget Do You Buy?

From a fully funded pension to the millionaire's tax, do the Democrats have anything real to offer New Jersey?

Democrats in the Legislature are set to send Gov. Chris Christie a version of the 2015 state budget that would fully fund the state pension fund to the tune of $2.4 billion -- as promised. It would also impose an income tax hike on millionaires and increase the corporate income tax rate from 9 percent to 10.35 percent for businesses earning more than $100,000 in profit. It would also suspend the $175 million Business Employment Incentive Program.

The moves are necessary because the state is facing a $650 million shortfall in the FY 2014 budget, which led to the Christie administration revising FY 2015’s revenue estimate downward by 5 percent. To meet these projections, Christie cut funding of the pension system -- which already has a $38 billion unfunded liability.

What do you think of the Democrats’ budget, which is sure to be vetoed by Christie?

  • The Democrats are right. The state must make good on its promises to workers, which include teachers and firefighters, as well as follow its own law which was just approved in 2010. What’s more, every year that goes by without meeting the actuarially required funding we dig ourselves a bigger hole that just becomes impossible to fill.

  • I would support a millionaire’s tax but not the corporate tax increases. We are having a hard enough time attracting businesses to New Jersey. If we can’t find enough change in the cushions to make up the difference, we should at least make a bigger payment to the pension fund. Otherwise, the problem will just continue to snowball.

  • The millionaire’s tax is crazy because while it might only impact 16,000 taxpayers, it is these very taxpayers who can just decide to live a few more days in Florida or move across the border to Pennsylvania. What we can cut is that Business Enterprise Incentive Program, which Christie has used as a corporate giveaway to keep companies in the state. And I guess a corporate tax hike might be necessary -- we need to get as close to the pension funding obligation as possible.

  • I agree with Christie. The pension system is eating us alive. And the actuarial tables are best-case scenarios. We just simply can’t afford it, no matter what we promised. Increasing taxes on the rich and corporations will only make New Jersey less attractive to business, something we also can’t afford. We need to do a complete overhaul of the pension system that cuts benefits and phase it in as soon as possible.

  • I just don’t know what the answer is. None of the options are appealing. Maybe this crisis will force our politicians to do their jobs and stick their necks out.

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