NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Offers Property Tax Relief

The New Jersey state house.
The New Jersey state house. File photo

The clock is ticking down and the legislature’s July 1 deadline to approve a new state budget is approaching.

With Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders still far from an agreement on a spending plan, Murphy is now offering property tax relief in exchange for support for his push to raise tax rates on millionaires, according to a report by The Record. The governor has also offered to put an additional $250 million in the budget for property tax relief, saying he thought the measure would “sweeten the pot” on the millionaires’ tax.

But Senate President Steve Sweeney wasn’t biting. Sweeney dismissed Murphy’s offer as a “gimmick” that did nothing to address the long-term problems that lead to perennially high property taxes and the state always struggling to find funding. Sweeney is undoubtedly aware that while new taxes are rarely rescinded, there’s no guarantee that tax relief efforts will be included in future state spending plans once the millionaires’ tax is approved.

Sweeney, who has supported a millionaires’ tax in the past, now claims that the Republican tax overhaul’s elimination of deductions for state and local taxes has changed the landscape. New Jersey runs the risk the of driving millionaires to lower-tax states, Sweeney warns. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a similar warning to his legislature.

Murphy’s proposed $38.6 billion budget includes a plan to raise tax rates on those with incomes over $1 million—from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent, according to The Record. This would raise about $447 million in new tax revenue.

Quote of the Day: “He has suddenly discovered that property taxes are an issue after years of saying that high property taxes are not a problem because New Jerseyans get ‘value’ for their taxes,” — Senate President Steve Sweeney, dismissing Gov. Phil Murphy’s pledge to include property tax relief in this year’s budget in return for passage of a millionaires’ tax.

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