Sweeney responds to Christie tax cut plan, says ‘nothing has changed’

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to send a revised tax cut proposal back to the Legislature could be dead on arrival, according to top Senate lawmakers.

Senate President Steve Sweeney told reporters Monday that “nothing has changed” in his mind and he reaffirmed Democrats’ commitment not to act on a tax cut unless funds to support one are available.

“We said if the revenues work out we’ll do a tax cut. If they don’t, we won’t,” said Sweeney said, noting the state’s $302 million budget shortfall.

“Based on how we come out at the end of the year, that’s how we’ll make a decision,” he said, adding, “No one wants to do a tax cut more than I do.”

The top Senate lawmaker held an impromptu news conference hours after Christie announced his plans to send a tax cut plan to lawmakers.

Sweeney said lawmakers will wait on revenue returns before committing to a tax cut proposal.

“We will continue to monitor the budget,” Sweeney said. “I think probably the best numbers will be in May, … but we have two more months.”

Sweeney disputed published reports from last week that indicated he had been telling Democratic leaders in recent weeks he’s interested in reviving a tax cut plan.

“No, it was about the budget itself,” Sweeney said of his conversations with Democrats.

“I didn’t call Democrats, I spoke to the majority leader [and] I spoke to our gubernatorial nominee,” he said.

Sweeney said he told them to pay attention to the budget, saying if the revenues for a tax cut are there then he would move forward with his previous proposal to slash taxes.

"Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil."
—U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)