Fourth Senate Budget Committee Member Tells Gov. McGreevey to Back Off on Tax Hikes

WASHINGTON – It\’s been a long time coming, but New Jersey Republicans are finally standing up to Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) when it comes to taxes. On Wednesday morning, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) became the 7th member of the New Jersey Senate to sign the Americans for Tax Reform\’s (ATR) Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Pledge is a written commitment from a candidate or representative in any level of government to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." Currently, President George W. Bush, 216 U.S. House members, 42 senators, eight governors and nearly 1,200 state and local officials have signed the Pledge.

Sen. Kean became the fourth member of the Senate Budget Committee to pledge against tax increases. With a divided Senate, legislative committees are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. As such, if six members of the Budget Committee oppose tax increases, the committee can essentially kill all of McGreevey\’s proposed $700 million tax increases.

"Senator Kean\’s bold stroke of the pen today confirms that he will fight for the taxpayers of New Jersey," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR. "With Governor McGreevey consistently raising taxes on working families across the state, Kean\’s leadership today is a welcome sign to the state\’s taxpayers that McGreevey\’s proposed tax increases will not be tolerated."

A recent analysis by ATR found that the State of New Jersey is expected to receive more than $1.7 billion of new tax revenue in fiscal year 2004 without raising taxes. The increase in revenue is coming from $561 million of federal aid as part of President Bush\’s tax cut, $630 million of revenue that was underestimated in the fiscal year 2003 budget, and $600 million of new revenue stemming from improved economic growth. Yet, McGreevey continues to push ahead with more than $700 million of tax increases.

"Momentum is clearly building in the Garden State to stop McGreevey\’s tax-and-spend agenda," continued Norquist. "Senator Kean\’s signing of the pledge is further evidence that the Senate Budget Committee will not approve ANY new taxes whether it\’s casinos, tobacco, cell phones or property taxes while $1.7 billion of new revenue is set to flow to the state next year. Governor McGreevey should pull all tax increases out of the budget immediately and move ahead with a pro-growth, pro-taxpayer budget for fiscal year 2004."