NJ Politics Digest: Lawmakers Can’t Rely on April Surprise For Revenue Needs

Democrats had been hoping that strong revenue collections in April and May could blunt the need for some of Murphy's proposed tax increases.

Gov. Phil Murphy. Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for SiriusXM

April can be the cruelest of months, particularly if you’re a New Jersey Democrat trying to implement the governor’s progressive agenda without having to agree to his proposal for a variety of tax hikes.

Democrats had been hoping that strong revenue collections in April and May could blunt the need for some of Murphy’s proposed tax increases, but The Record reports that April’s figures were disappointingly stagnant. The paper reports the state collected $2.3 billion in revenue from income tax receipts, a 1 percent drop totaling $23.1 million from last year’s April collections. Overall, tax revenue for month climbed a mere 0.3 percent, according to the report. April is the largest month for tax collections in New Jersey, according to the paper.

It’s unclear how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday striking down the federal ban on sports betting will impact state budget calculations. But there is already talk among Trenton watchers of an intraparty budget battle brewing that could equal last year’s showdown between then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democrats in the legislature that resulted in state government being shut down over the Independence Day weekend.

Murphy’s budget calls for more than $1.5 billion in new taxes. His plan includes raising the state sales tax, imposing a millionaires tax and approval of new taxes on electronic cigarettes, ride- and house-sharing services. He also wants to legalize and tax the sale of recreational marijuana.

Murphy wants to use the money to provide additional community college aid for low-income students, increase school funding and aid for New Jersey Transit and increase state payments into its underfunded pension system.

But Senate President Steve Sweeney has spoken out against the millionaires tax and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said he doesn’t favor raising the sales tax.

Quote of the Day: “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

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NJ Politics Digest: Lawmakers Can’t Rely on April Surprise For Revenue Needs