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I want to talk to you about a family I spoke with yesterday. What they said struck me, and I believe truly represents exactly who it is Assembly Democrats are fighting for in our campaign for 20% property tax relief.
The Castellanos, a middle-class family who live in Hamilton, were kind enough to invite me into their living room and talk to me about property taxes. Mr. Castellano, Domingo, is a union painter who works hard and plays by the rules. Together with his wife, Alicia, he raises two beautiful young daughters, ages 3 and 2, with another child on the way. Mr. Castellano told me that between groceries, baby formula, diapers and other expenses that add up quickly, they’re struggling to make ends meet.
Like so many families struggling from property taxes that have gone up 20% under Governor Christie, the Castellanos have seen their property taxes jump significantly since Governor Christie took office. The Governor has responded by proposing a “Tampa Bay Tax Cut”, an income tax cut aimed at winning him points with national GOP pundits and Tea Party politicians. After all, why else would he propose a measure that provides a boatful of new tax breaks to millionaires without so much as throwing a life preserver to middle-class families drowning under high property taxes?
Under the Governor’s plan, a family like the Castellanos would save $50 four years from now–barely enough to cover a box of diapers for their young girls–while giving millionaires a $7,000 handout. That’s not a typo. The Governor’s response to a hard-working middle-class family living paycheck to paycheck is $50, four years from now. While a 10% income tax cut might make a great Fox News sound bite, it doesn’t do much to help the Castellanos and families like theirs.
Our 20% property tax relief plan, on the other hand, would provide $940 of relief to the Castellanos–real relief that really means something to their family budget. Our plan is simple: 20% property tax relief (25% to seniors and disabled residents) to 95% of New Jersey households. And we are able to provide this level of properly tax relief to middle and working-class families by eliminating a tax break through which 16,000 millionaires have been enjoying an average of $40,000 per year each of the past two years.
Governor Christie’s idea of shared sacrifice seems to be millionaires should share in even greater riches, while the rest of us make all the sacrifice. Our 20% property tax relief plan asks millionaires to share in the sacrifice that middle and working class families have shouldered, while providing real property tax relief to the families and seniors who need it the most.
I hope you’ll join our fight for 20% property tax relief on Facebook and Twitter. And I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me in the comments below What would 20% property tax relief mean to your family or to your neighbors compared to Christie’s “Tampa Bay Tax Cut”?