NJ Politics Digest: Is This the Legislature’s Counter-Proposal to Murphy’s Budget?

The New Jersey state house.

The New Jersey state house. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Democratic leaders in the legislature won’t lay claim to it, but NJ Advance Media says it has obtained “a possible legislative counter-proposal” to Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget.

There is less than three weeks for state leaders to agree on a budget, and many Trenton-watchers are already seriously discussing the possibility of state government shutdown, as Murphy and legislative leaders in his own party still appear far apart on spending priorities and Murphy’s plan to raise more than $1.5 billion in taxes.

The report on NJ.com says the one-page document includes calls for a temporary three-percentage point hike in the Corporation Business Tax, a tax amnesty program projected to bring in $150 million and increases in funding for the Homestead Rebate program, school funding and other spending priorities.

It scraps Murphy’s call for an increase in the state sales tax and a millionaires tax, while also cutting spending for his priorities, including additional aid for low-income students attending community college, according to the report.

The report notes that it’s not clear if the plan is an initial proposal to be used in bargaining or a firm statement of legislative priorities. Both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin distanced themselves from the plan, according to NJ.com.

Murphy has made it clear he doesn’t favor hiking the corporate tax, saying it will drive businesses—and the jobs they create—from the state, while plans for it to sunset after two years means it doesn’t provide the stable source of income he says the state needs.

The state must adopt a budget by July 1 or face a shutdown of nonessential services—similar to what happened last year over three days of the Independence Day weekend, when the Democratic-controlled legislature clashed with Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Quote of the Day: “Until a final budget is introduced, anything else floating out in the ether is just idle speculation.” — Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin

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NJ Politics Digest: Is This the Legislature’s Counter-Proposal to Murphy’s Budget?