Sunday, 17 June, 2018

Gov. Murphy Introduces Financial Plans at Budget Address

Gov. Murphy Introduces Financial Plans at Budget Address Gov. Murphy Introduces Financial Plans at Budget Address
Patty Aguilar | 14 March, 2018, 23:27

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled his first budget Tuesday, which features an increase of more than $2 billion over the budget adopted by the State Legislature and signed in to law by Gov. Chris Christie.

Murphy said only 1% of the proposed budget is comprised of one-shot revenues.

The plan increases spending on education and the pension payment and finances the increases by raising income taxes on millionaires and hiking the sales tax.

Another possibly more controversial revenue stream will be the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults.

The proposal largely reflects what Murphy campaigned on, backed by the Democratic establishment.

Murphy also said the budget prioritizes tax fairness by including a millionaire's tax and 28 percent increase in funding state pensions. Senate Democratic leaders added that some of the proposals are "appealing" but that they'll require "thorough review and consideration". Democrats says they'll review the plan.

Murphy on Wednesday downplayed any potential divisions, saying he thought Democrats would "prove to be the party of substance". Christie had successfully pushed for lowering the sales tax under a plan in 2016 that also hiked the gas tax by about 25 cents, from 14 cents a gallon to 37.5 cents a gallon.

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"This isn't me against him, " Sweeney said. "I got elected to do what's right in New Jersey".

"We need all the good ideas, " Murphy said. "The epidemic of gun violence is a major public health problem that continues to impact the lives of Garden State families and communities", said Nico Bocour, the state's legislative director for Giffords.

Murphy's budget would raise taxes by almost $1.6 billion in one of the country's highest-taxed states while also increasing spending on education and transit. "And we're going to make educated decisions that make New Jersey competitive".

Murphy argues his millionaire's tax targets the wealthy who can afford to pay while the sales tax change from 6.625 percent to 7 percent would likely be imperceptible for most residents.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. say the money should be used to lower property taxes, which are among the highest in the country.

Before he left office in January, former Gov. Chris Christie outlined a plan to increase fares beginning in 2020 to help pay for a planned new rail tunnel into NY.

Murphy's proposes contributing $3.2 billion toward the state's pension system, which now receives funding from New Jersey Lottery revenues under legislation signed by Christie past year. He has until June 30 to get a spending plan approved by the legisalture before the 2019 fiscal year commences on July 1.

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