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

Murphy not ready to back business tax hike to fund NJ Transit

‘It’s too early to hang our hat on anything,’ governor says

By Nikita Biryukov, February 27 2020 6:38 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said he isn’t ready to back Senate President Steve Sweeney’s proposed increase to the state’s corporate business tax hike as a method of providing permanent funding to NJ Transit.

“The notion of finding recurring, reliable revenues for infrastructure, specifically for NJ Transit is something we absolutely are all-in for,” the governor said. “Exactly how we do that, I think it’s too early yet to tell, but we’re open-minded to finding that solution.”

Sweeney has proposed a permanent 1% surcharge on corporations that make more than $1 million annually that his office says will annually provide $300 million in funding for the beleaguered transportation agency.

Murphy and legislative leaders passed a 2.5% CBT hike in 2018 as part of a budget deal. That surcharge stepped down to 1.5% in January.

Sweeney’s proposal would put it back up to 2.5% and make the portion of the tax dedicated to NJ Transit continue in perpetuity.

The Senate president is also calling for the state to constitutionally dedicate $200 million in diversions from the Turnpike Authority’s revenues and the Clean Energy Fund.

Murphy has expressed skepticism about dedicating those diversions. His stance on funding NJ Transit using CBT revenues was less firm.

“I think it’s too early to hang our hat on anything,” he said.

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