"By the time all is said and done, (the proposals have) all been watered down so much that there's really nothing there. They're nothing more than shells," said Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Lawrence, Mercer County.
After seeing much of his work on reforms whittled down by other lawmakers and interest groups, Sen. Robert Smith, D-Piscataway, compared his efforts to those of Sisyphus, who in Greek mythology was doomed to forever roll a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down.
"I went into this believing anything was possible and anything was on the table, but you can't get past those interest groups," said Smith, who co-chaired one of the four committees that spent much of last summer working on reform plans.
Aside from the tax caps, Smith said none of the remaining proposals would go far to reduce government spending and therefore have a long-term impact on taxes.