The Daily Record

Backers Of Tax On Wealthy Visit Bucco's Office

Daily Record — Saturday, June 5, 2004

By Elisabeth Salemme
Daily Record

DENVILLE — Members of the Fairness Alliance, a grassroots tax reform group, paid a visit to the office of state Sen. Anthony Bucco on Friday to show support for the so-called millionaires tax proposal – which would affect a large number of constituents in Bucco's affluent Morris County district.

The Fairness Alliance, which bills itself as a group of 60,000 organizations and individuals who favor the proposal to increase taxes on New Jersey's wealthiest citizens, presented Bucco with 740 postcards signed by constituents in support of the tax.

Gov. James E. McGreevey has proposed the new tax, which would increase the state income tax on households earning $500,000 or more per year to a top rate of 8.97 percent, up from a top rate of 6.37 percent. The tax would affect 1 percent of taxpayers in the state. The proposal also calls for rebates for the least wealthy taxpayers.

Each night for the past few weeks, five to 10 Fairness Alliance members have gone door-to-door in an attempt to acquire signatures in favor of the plan.

"People were really receptive," said John Weber, an organizer for New Jersey Citizen Action, which is a member of the Fairness Alliance. "We need to make the senator aware that there are this many people in the district who are aware of this."

Weber, joined by Citizen Action staff member Bridget Devane and members Marcia Pazel and Juanita Rosa, delivered the postcards to Bucco's office Friday afternoon.

"This is about the wealthy needing to pay their fair share," Rosa said. "Morris County is a very expensive place to live. It is good for the senator to see faces personally rather than just get the cards in the mail."

Bucco said Friday, however, that he opposes the millionaires tax.

"We (state Republicans) talked to the treasury and don't think it's necessary," Bucco said. "We have unanticipated revenue, so I don't think (the millionaires tax) is necessary."

The unanticipated revenue is the result of newly closed corporate tax loopholes that will result in $800 million in new tax revenue, Bucco said.

"We can use this $800 million without having to tax additional people," Bucco said.

Weber said it is not fair that the less wealthy residents are taxed more than wealthy residents.

"The wealthiest people in New Jersey are getting huge tax breaks back from Washington," Weber said. "Let's capture this massive windfall they're getting."

Pazel said she came to Bucco's office to represent the senior citizens of Morris County.

"People cannot maintain their properties because of the taxes," Pazel said. "Many use medications and the cost is high, and that is their priority."

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