Bit of a conundrum for the Democrats perhaps? Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald was quoted in the Star-Ledger this week saying that he would “fight to the death” to keep the rebates.
Yesterday, top Democaratic Lawmakers met with the Governor and when they emerged from that meeting, Greenwald’s comments sounded a lot more like what the Governor has been consistently saying about those rebates…in effect: everything is on the table.
Senate President Codey did say that rebates for seniors will likely be preserved. The non-senior portion is $1.1 Billion out of total package of $1.7 Billion last year.
Here is why this is particularly interesting. When Corzine wanted to raise the sales tax by a cent assembly Speaker Joe Roberts wanted it to be used for property tax rebates. The Governor refused. The standoff in 2006 led to an eight day government shutdown. In the end, the compromise was to use half of the new revenue for rebates, but Corzine promised to increase them by 40%. Now, with an economic crisis, the state is in dire budget shape. And the terms of the debate have shifted from how do we increase them, to how can we cut them.
Even Republican Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie got in on that debate claiming Corzine’s changing position on this is directly responsible for people’s cynicism.
Exciting day at State House though as the story unfolded.