Home>Governor>Murphy: stock trade tax a matter of ‘if,’ not ‘when’

Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy: stock trade tax a matter of ‘if,’ not ‘when’

By Nikita Biryukov, September 19 2020 6:00 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy isn’t prepared to commit to pursuing a tax on financial transactions in a future budget.

“If we can do it, I’d love to do it, but it is complicated,” The governor said on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on 77 WABC Saturday. “And I would just say it’s more ‘if’ than ‘when,’ but we like the notion a lot and we’re working hard at it.”

The proposal involves levying a tax worth roughly a quarter-of-cent on every financial transaction conducted in the state. Many major exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, run their electronic trading systems in New Jersey.

The proposal won’t make it into this year’s budget — the measure wasn’t scored in the governor’s revised budget address and he said that would remain the case — but the governor isn’t ruling out pursuing it sometime down the line.

“It’s something that I notionally like a lot. Our team has spent a lot of time on it. Our legislative colleagues have spent a significant amount of time on it,” Murphy said. “John McKeon, who is a dear friend, has led that in the Assembly, but it’s still a way’s off.”

The proposal has already spooked some exchanges. The NYSE will run the smallest of its five exchanges out of a backup site in Chicago between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2. The exchange has threatened to pull its operations out of the state entirely if the micro-cent tax is enacted.

Some estimates have said the tax would bring in as much as $10 billion for the state each year, though Murphy wasn’t willing to give his own estimate.

“I don’t have a number for you, but if it were to happen, it’s a significant item,” he said. “I’ll just leave it there, and again, that’s not because I’m hiding the pea as much as there’s just a lot of moving parts. I don’t want to hang my hat on a particular number, but it’s significant if it were to happen.”

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