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

Murphy stands by hurried tax incentive push

By Nikita Biryukov, December 21 2020 3:07 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy stood by Democratic legislative leaders as they rushed to pass a $14 billion tax incentive program in just six days Monday, repeatedly refusing to criticize a hurried process that has drawn criticism from Democrats, Republicans and his progressive base.

“Everything in this bill was signaled as much as two-plus years ago,” Murphy said when asked about the bill’s breakneck pace a third time at Monday’s virus briefing. “This is one of these bills the closer you look the more you like it.”

While some of the bill’s provisions have been discussed at great length since — and even before — the programs it would replace sunset last July, there was little in the way of detail until the bill was announced last week.

For instance, the programs’ $1.5 billion annual caps, long a point of contention between Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), are more than three times as large as the $400 million annual caps Murphy sought in a conditional veto last August.

Last week, Murphy sidestepped a question about the bill’s incredibly short runway, saying it was a legislative matter that lay with Democratic leaders in the statehouse.

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