TRENTON — New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to a set of tax-related measures as they wait to see if Gov. Chris Christie will veto the new budget.
The Senate voted Thursday evening to raise the income tax on millionaires and to use the $800 million in expected revenue to provide property tax relief — a measure similar to one that Christie has vetoed in each of the past two years.
Earlier in the day, the Senate approved increasing an earned-income tax credit for the working poor and allocating more revenue from utility taxes to municipal governments.
All the bills have already passed in the Assembly and could face a veto from Christie.
The Republican governor is also weighing the overall $32 billion state budget adopted this week on party-line votes in both chambers of the Legislature.
The main dispute is over a tax cut. Christie proposed the first installment of a three-year phase-in of a 10 percent income tax cut starting in January 2013.
Legislators changed it to a property tax cut — something Christie has said he could support — but want to wait until later to make sure the state can afford the cut, which has a $183 million price tag for the fiscal year that starts July 1. They, along with some independent economists, say Christie’s projections for revenue growth are overly optimistic.
On the “Ask the Governor” show on New Jersey 101.5 FM Thursday night, Christie reiterated his opposition to the Democratic-led Legislature’s approach.
“They are dead wrong not to cut taxes right now,” Christie said. “I am going to spend the entire summer kicking their rear ends over it.”
He has until Saturday to decide whether to use his line-item veto powers on the budget. He has 45 days to veto or sign other measures.
One finance-related bill he’s likely to support was passed in the Senate on Thursday. It would allow the state to borrow $3.5 billion over the next four years to help pay for transportation projects.
The annual debt payments are expected to be about $300 million.