Today’s New Jersey budget votes were postponed after unexpectedly good news. Governor Corzine has just explained the situation:
“Today, because of an unprecedented response to the tax amnesty program that I initiated this winter, the state has collected back tax revenues that are far in excess of the $200 million that the State Treasurer anticipated,” Governor Corzine said. “When revenues fell, the last item we cut was property tax relief. Now that we have recovered some lost revenues, the first thing we will restore is property tax relief. This money belongs to the taxpayers, and we’re going to give it back to them in property tax relief.”
The tax amnesty program, which ended Monday, allowed anyone who owed back taxes a brief window of opportunity to square his or her account without interest or penalties. The program was expected to raise $200 million, but a spike in participation in the final days pushed the amount collected past $600 million and the total could be as much as $700 million when all of the checks clear.
The original estimates were actually just $100 million, so it’s a huge improvement and Governor Corzine rightly takes credit for this extra income.
Here’s another statement from Speaker Roberts, explainng why he decided to delay the budget:
Today’s announcement is great news in this tough budget year for New Jersey property taxpayers and families.
“We have always said that we would seek to provide as much property tax relief as possible, and these updated figures allow us to honor that commitment to put property taxpayers first.
“Considering this development, it would be imprudent to advance budget bills today now that we can responsibly improve them. Instead, the Assembly Budget Committee will meet Monday to revise the budget bills, and I expect the Assembly to vote on the bills a week from today, June 25.
“This development again shows how New Jersey Democrats have indeed been ahead of the curve in responding to this economic crisis. Those who criticized this program and never offered an alternative must now confront the reality that this was the nation’s most successful tax amnesty program and a smart and sensible policy.”
There is a video posted by the Governor’s office too.