NJ Politics Digest: From Utilities to Sales Tax, Prepare to Pay More

The New Jersey state house.

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

A much-debated bill to have ratepayers provide a $300 million annual subsidy to nuclear power plants in the state Senate president’s district is slated for legislative action on Thursday.

The bill, which could add about $41 to the annual bill of ratepayers across the state, is opposed by environmental groups and the state’s ratepayer advocate. But it has a strong supporter in Senate President Steve Sweeney, whose district contains power plants owned by PSEG—which helped write the bailout bill—the Press of Atlantic City reports.

Sweeney contends the bill is needed to keep the plants profitable and open, though PSEG has not opened its books to the public to prove the need, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The bill, part of a package of energy-related bills expected to cost residents a total of about $55 more per year, is expected to be approved by the Democrat-controlled legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

The bills are just one of several measures Murphy is expected to approve that would raise the cost of living in the state. The governor is also pushing for a millionaires tax, increases in the state sales tax, as well as new taxes on house- and ride-sharing services and e-cigarettes, according to a report in the Record.

Murphy contends residents in the highly taxed state won’t mind paying more, if they see they are getting their money’s worth. He also plans to increase state school aid, which could reduce property taxes in some districts. Republicans, meanwhile, warn the high cost of living in New Jersey is driving residents away.

There could be, however, some good news for residents, too. The legislature is also advancing bills requiring some utilities to slash their bills to reflect savings due to the 2017 federal tax cut plan approved by Republicans in Washington, according to an Associated Press report.

Quote of the Day: “He just doesn’t understand how upset people are about how unaffordable this state is.” — Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, on Gov. Phil Murphy’s plans to raise the state sales tax and impose new taxes on a variety of internet-based services and e-cigarettes.

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Phil Murphy Says This Is the ‘Smartest Investment’ NJ Can Make
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Ex-Union Official From Passaic Admits Embezzling Funds From Benefit Plan
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NJ Politics Digest: From Utilities to Sales Tax, Prepare to Pay More