NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Decides to Push State to Edge of Shutdown

Phil Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iStar

Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to convince the legislature to include his call for higher taxes in the new state budget. On Wednesday, he said he won’t be announcing his decision over whether he’ll sign off on the measure until close to the deadline for a government shutdown.

As NJ.com reports, the governor has asked groups that support his progressive agenda come to Trenton on Sunday for his announcement over whether or not he’ll sign the budget, approved by the state legislature a week ago. The state must have a budget in place by Monday, July 1, or face a shutdown.

Senate President Steve Sweeney sent Murphy a budget that addressed most of the governor’s priorities without raising taxes. The legislative budget increases the number of middle class students at community colleges that are eligible for state aid and increases funding for NJ Transit.

But Murphy, who has made increasing taxes on the state’s highest earners a keystone of what he calls his efforts for a “stronger and fairer” state, has spent the last week criticizing the legislature’s plan while refusing to say if he will sign it, veto it outright or use his line item veto to strip out certain spending items in an attempt to punish his legislative foes.

Sweeney has said the legislature would likely override any Murphy vetoes, and that he won’t consider any new taxes until Murphy takes steps to rein in state spending and reduce the already-crushing tax burden on New Jersey residents.

As of a CNBC interview Wednesday, Murphy continues to contend that state residents, who have consistently listed property taxes as their No. 1 concern, will still be willing to pay even more since the state represents good value for their money.

Quote of the Day: “I think that Gov. Murphy has decided that he’s going to remain a pure, progressive Democratic and that he is maybe going to go down with the ship as a pure, progressive Democrat. He seems to be focusing on making sure that he’s got kind of this ideological purity about all of the things that basically the progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants,” — Seton Hall University political scientist Matthew Hale.

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NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Decides to Push State to Edge of Shutdown