NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Budget Calls for Taxes on Millionaires

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivering the 2019 New Jersey State of the State address in the Assembly Chambers at the New Jersey State House in Trenton.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivering the 2019 New Jersey State of the State address in the Assembly Chambers at the New Jersey State House in Trenton. Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy outlined his plan for next year’s budget, renewing his call to raise taxes on millionaires and gun owners while increasing aid for public schools.

The proposal, introduced in a speech to the state legislator, sets up a fight between Murphy and the leaders of his own party, who have come out firmly against raising taxes again on the state’s wealthiest residents.

While Murphy’s proposal touted the $1.1 billion he claims to have saved—mostly through changes in public worker health benefits—Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin claimed much more can be saved by examining public worker wages and benefits.

Sweeney has warned that further taxing high earners will only drive them out of the state. He has also long talked about the need for the state to rein in costs and has been pushing fiscal policy reforms he says will reduce the state’s pension and health benefits costs.

Murphy, who is closely allied with public worker unions, has pushed back against Sweeney’s efforts, setting up another likely showdown as budget negotiations begin early this summer.

Murphy’s plan calls for a $206 million in state school funding and flat funding for property tax relief programs.

It calls for $60 million to be raised through taxes on legalized recreational use of marijuana, even though the state legislature has yet to take up a bill and the push to legalize pot still remains in doubt.

Murphy’s plan would also tax companies with more than 50 employees $150 for every employee enrolled in Medicaid in an attempt to to encourage them to provide employee health benefits.
Murphy would also raise fees for gun permits and increases taxes on ammunition, boosting the cost of a state firearms ID card from $5 to $100 and a handgun carry permit from $50 to $400.

The state must adopt a budget by July 1. Last year, negotiations came down to the last minute, as Murphy gave in on some of his demands to raise taxes and averted a state government shutdown.

Quote of the Day: “If it kills me, we’ll rebuild NJ Transit,” — Gov. Phil Murphy in his second state budget address on Tuesday.

Full Text of Phil Murphy’s 2020 NJ Budget Address
Here is the full speech Murphy gave on Tuesday.
The Record Read more

NJ Factories, Refineries Released 6M Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Into Air and Water
New Jersey factories and refineries released almost 6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and water in 2017, according to the latest data released by federal officials on Tuesday.
The Record Read more

She Freed a Trapped Bear Cub. Now, a Former Lawmaker Paid Her Fines and Is Asking Murphy to Pardon Her.
Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli is pitching a pardon for an animal rights activist facing 15 days in jail after freeing a young bear from a trap.
NJ.com Read more

What We Learned From Gov. Phil Murphy’s $38.6B Budget Proposal
Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a $38.6 billion budget on Tuesday that calls for increased income taxes on millionaires, no NJ Transit fare hikes, and the potential for legalized marijuana by January.
The Record Read more

Like Sweeney Before Him, Murphy Won’t Give Up on Millionaires Tax
As Chris Christie lorded over New Jersey for eight years resisting all but one tax increase, Senate President Steve Sweeney never wavered in his effort to impose a higher tax rate on millionaires.
Politico Read more

William Paterson Pays $800K to Settle Suit Alleging It Did Not Investigate Rape Report
William Paterson University agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed it violated Title IX regulations when it failed to investigate a report of a rape from a student who ultimately committed suicide on campus.
The Record Read more

Murphy Wants to Hike Taxes and Fees on Guns and Ammo
Gov. Phil Murphy is once again taking aim at firearms sales in New Jersey, asking lawmakers to significantly raise permit fees and enact new taxes on guns and ammunition.
NJ.com Read more

Murphy Expects to Make $80M on Marijuana by Next Year. Here’s Why That’s Unlikely.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday released a budget that anticipates the state generating $80 million dollars in marijuana tax revenue over the next fiscal year, despite a legal weed bill that hasn’t passed and a medical marijuana expansion that’s currently stalled.
NJ.com Read more

Medicare for All Takes Spotlight, but Pallone Sets Sights on Affordable Care Act
With some fellow Democrats lining up to support the expansion of Medicare, Rep. Frank Pallone said Monday that the idea didn’t have enough votes, and he would try to shore up the Affordable Care Act instead.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Pension Forfeiture on Cards for Public Officials Who Commit Sex Offenses
State lawmakers are looking to create a tough new penalty for public officials who commit a sexual assault or similar offense in the workplace. The effort comes as a report is still pending from a special legislative panel reviewing an alleged rape that has rocked Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration.
NJSpotlight Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Budget Calls for Taxes on Millionaires