Reuters) - New Jersey politicians are due to battle on Monday over whether to slap a tax on millionaires or cut services for low-income senior citizens and the disabled
The clash in the state legislature is part of a wider battle over how to erase a $10.7 billion budget deficit and is emblematic of the decisions facing states across America whose budget deficits have soared during the recession.
Democrats want to re-impose a one-year tax on millionaires that has been vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie. The 10.75 percent tax on income above $1 million would hit 16,000 people, some of them likely to work as financial professionals just across the Hudson River in New York.
Both houses of the legislature, which are controlled by Democrats, previously approved the tax in May but it was immediately vetoed by Christie, who has pledged not to raise taxes.
The tax would raise $637 million that the state would use to fund rebate checks of up to $1,295 for some 600,000 senior citizens who would otherwise face steep increases in their property taxes during fiscal 2011.
According to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see an increase of $1,320 in taxes under the governor's plan while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598.
"Governor Christie's heartless vetoes denied property tax relief to senior citizens struggling to make ends meet," Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan said in a statement.
This isn't very karmic of me, but not enough bad stuff can happen to Chris Christie.