Home>Articles>Statements on Gov. Murphy’s budget address

Statements on Gov. Murphy’s budget address

By David Wildstein, February 25 2020 2:35 pm

Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt

“After the Governor’s 2020 budget address, it is clear that he has settled comfortably into accepting that New Jersey will always be unaffordable, and we will always be the nation’s number one exporter of jobs, businesses and family members. Phil Murphy is oddly at peace with the fact that our children can’t afford to start their lives here and our parents and grandparents can’t afford to retire here.

“Governor Murphy’s 2020 budget is built around yet another income tax. At $40 billion, it is the largest in New Jersey history and grew faster than the state’s gross domestic product. His communications team has been working overtime to try and sell New Jersey residents on the idea that if we only tax people who can “afford” it, he’ll have enough taxes to fund his radical, liberal agenda.

“New Jersey government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. While the Governor is willing to mortgage and tax your family’s future for the cost of his sanctuary state, so-called “free” college and a host of special interest giveaways, the honest answer is, we can’t afford it.”

Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey

“Gov. Murphy is being true to his word, and investing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create the homes New Jersey’s residents and economy need.  NJ remains number one is the foreclosure crisis and is the sixth most expensive place to rent a two bedroom apartment in the country.  In order for our economy to be stronger and fairer to all, everyone must have an affordable, safe place to call home.  We applaud the Governor and his Administration for delivering on the promise to provide critical resources to help to make sure we can address the housing needs of all of our residents.  We look forward to working the Murphy Administration, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin and the entire Legislature to adopt a budget that includes full funding of the Trust Fund so our communities and neighbors can thrive.”

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald

“First, I’m glad to see the final FY 2020 revenue projections met our expectations. Last year we crafted a fair budget and I am happy to see the estimated revenue numbers the Governor referenced in his address come pretty close to the numbers we predicted— for the second year in a row.

“As a former Budget Chair, a good, responsible budget supports the needs of New Jersey families, raises the working middle class and grows the economy. The Governor’s address starts the beginning of the budget process.

“It’s time for us to get to work. It’s time to pour over the details, pull it apart and put it back together again. As always, this will require our collaboration as equal branches of government.”

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo

“The Governor has done his job by presenting us with a budget plan and it is now the Legislature’s responsibility to give the proposal a thorough review and put in place a fiscally responsible spending plan for the coming year. It is a proposal that we will work with to make sure we have the resources and the plans to address New Jersey’s needs and priorities.

“We start with a foundation of strong revenue growth that is consistent with the Legislature’s projections last spring. While that gives us the ability to make smart investments in immediate and long-term needs, we still have to protect the financial interests of the taxpayers by eliminating wasteful spending and making sure that government operates efficiently and effectively.

“This year I will have the Senate Budget Committee take a deep dive into the programs and services of the departments of state government to get a full accounting of the finances that support them. It will be a ‘structural review’ that goes beyond the traditional focus that was limited to new programs and spending increases for existing ones.

“We will work to produce a state budget that maximizes the effectiveness of government services and makes the best use of public resources.”

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg

“As our Senate Select Committee on New Jersey Transit hearings and the daily tweets of commuters show, NJ Transit still faces major challenges before it can provide the safe, reliable, on-time service our commuters have a right to expect. Part of the problem is years of insufficient funding for both operating and capital needs.

“Last year’s proposed $25 million increase in operating funding for NJ Transit was woefully inadequate, which is why we fought so hard to add $50 million to the budget,” she said. “Even with that $50 million added, NJ Transit acknowledged it would be facing at least a $86 million deficit for the upcoming year. That is why we are pleased that the Governor provided a $132 million increase in his budget proposal that the Legislature will surely support.”

“The biggest and most successful mass transit agencies in the country get 50% or more of their non-farebox revenue provided through dedicated funding, and our proposed constitutional amendment – which also includes $300 million in Corporation Business Tax revenues – will help us get to that percentage. It is critical that we put dedicated funding on the November ballot.”

“Given the size of the surplus for the current budget year and the upcoming budget year, I would have hoped we could have put a significant dent in those capital-to-operating transfers so that we could move forward with needed investments, including speeding up purchases of electrified buses.”

“Our constitutional amendment will ban capital-to-operating transfers from state sources in the Transportation Trust Fund and accompanying legislation will sharply limit raids of capital funds. But I will push for immediate reductions in capital-to-operating transfers as part of this year’s budget process.”

 Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action

“Governor Murphy’s proposed budget marks another important step forward in addressing many of New Jersey’s pressing needs while continuing the process of repairing our state’s fiscal health.  The budget invests heavily in critical priorities such as education, healthcare, transportation,  pension funding, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for our lowest paid workers, and our rainy day fund. These are sound investments that will help ensure all New Jerseyans have the opportunities they need to prosper.”

“We applaud the Governor in his efforts to secure new sources of revenue such as opioid fees, increasing the cigarette tax, a corporate responsibility tax and gun license fees. We especially commend his continued commitment to ensuring New Jersey’s wealthiest pay their fair share through a millionaire’s tax, and thank Senate President Sweeney for his willingness to work with the Governor on this issue. We urge the rest of the State Legislature to show its full support for all revenue raisers and budget measures, including capping our state’s corporate subsidy programs. We can’t fund the investments we need to make New Jersey work for everyone without them.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin

“The Governor’s proposed budget plan provides the Legislature with a clear starting point for the budget process. The hearings to come will allow us to more closely examine the details of his proposal, and work together to ensure that the needs of the state are met.

“The end goal is a fair, responsible financial plan for the next fiscal year that meets the needs of our working, middle-class residents.  As chair, I look forward to working with my fellow members of the Budget Committee, the Speaker’s leadership team and the Governor over the coming months.”

Make the Road New Jersey

“We thank Governor Murphy for his $3.1 million investment in legal defense of immigrants who are detained and facing deportation in New Jersey. As the Trump administration threatens to send Border Patrol SWAT teams into our cities to rip families apart, legal representation for immigrants is key to keeping our families together and ensuring due process for all. No one should have to face detention and permanent family separation without a lawyer by their side. We urge the legislature to increase this critical funding, and expand it to cover all immigrants who are detained and facing deportation in New Jersey.”

“We deeply appreciate Governor Murphy’s proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) age eligibility from 25 to 21 years of age. I am 24 years old, work in the electrical distribution industry, attend college, care for my mother, and struggle to make ends meet. This expansion will help workers like me and boost the take home pay of more than 60,000 residents across the state. Working adults without children are the lone group that the federal tax code taxes into or deeper into poverty, largely because they are also the only group largely excluded from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). We urge the legislature to pass this expansion, so that more workers can provide for their families.”

State Senator Anthony M. Bucco

“This was a missed opportunity for a more affordable state for taxpayers. At $40.85 billion, this budget reflects an increase of more than 5 percent over the FY 2020 budget passed last year.

“Residents are fleeing the state in record numbers, as evidenced by study after study. This was the time to start giving people hope for a more affordable New Jersey and give them a reason to stay.

“This budget gives us new and higher taxes, and boosts the cost of government to historic levels. The state should be living within its means, not continuing the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past.”

State Senator Michael Testa

“Gov. Murphy’s budget continues the Trenton trend of ripping off South Jersey. What we’re seeing are more tax hikes and spending increases that fall on the backs of hardworking families and businesses. Failing to rein in state government’s out-of-control spending will only lead to more New Jerseyans putting one foot out the door to greener pastures in more affordable states.

“South Jersey sent me to Trenton to act as a ‘check and balance’ against Democrat spending sprees. My constituents want lower taxes, more business and job opportunities, and better schools for our kids. I will continue to prioritize fiscal responsibility and pro-business policies so more families can continue to call the Garden State ‘home.’”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.

“Anyone who’s looking for a plan to make New Jersey more affordable will be disappointed by a budget proposal from Governor Murphy that raises taxes and makes no effort to constrain costs.  In a year when state revenues are booming, the governor’s spending plan represents a missed opportunity to demonstrate fiscal discipline and provide real tax relief to New Jerseyans.”

“If the governor continues driving taxes higher and shunning reforms proposed by the Legislature to cut the cost of government, we’re going to see a continued exodus from New Jersey.  Make no mistake, this budget is a continuation of disastrous fiscal policies that are breaking up too many of our families. This proposal doesn’t move the needle on giving people a reason to stay in New Jersey.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin

The Governor’s proposal is an encouraging first step and I commend his efforts to cut government costs, provide a healthy surplus and make a record payment into the pension system.

“The Assembly, I’m certain, will have additional ideas and priorities to discuss during the review process. We will continue to look for more government inefficiencies and cost savings, as we do each year. I remain cautious of increasing broad-based taxes.

“Today marks the starting point of a months-long journey to produce a fair and responsible budget that funds the priorities of our working, middle-class friends and neighbors.

“I look forward to working with our caucus, our budget chair, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, the Senate President and the Governor to deliver a responsible budget that makes New Jersey a more affordable place to live while funding our many shared goals.”

Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio

“This was a failure by the Murphy Administration to address the state’s affordability crisis. At $40.85 billion, this budget is heavy on dollars, but light on sense.

“As tax-battered residents are fleeing the state in record numbers, as evidenced by study after study citing New Jerseyans by the thousands giving up and moving away, what we needed more than anything was a responsible revenue plan and meaningful spending cuts. Instead, Murphy is giving us new and higher taxes, and boosting the cost of government to historic levels.

“The Governor’s budget shows a $1.6 billion surplus. Why in the world would we want to raise taxes an additional billion dollars? Why increase the budget twice the cost of living?

“Yet funding for special education students was held to the same level as last year. Why dismiss our most vulnerable children in this year’s budget. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It ain’t New Jersey.

“New taxes are not the answer. The crippling burdens of unfunded pension obligations and under-funded school districts can only be addressed through significant and systematic changes.  The path to affordability demands strong leadership and hard decisions.

“We know what we will get when the Governor insists on doing the same things and expecting a different outcome.”

State Senator Joseph Cryan

“This is an effective way to reduce health care costs at the same time it protects the quality of care for school employees and their families,” said Senator Cryan. “It provides incentives to avoid out-of-network health providers that are more expensive and make productive use of a reserve fund.

“At a time when health care costs continue to climb throughout the country, this is a cost-saving measure in New Jersey that will reduce premiums for employees and hold down costs for public employers. This can all be achieved without compromising the quality of medical care and it builds on savings already realized in the current year.”

The Governor’s proposal would give public workers enrolled in the School Employees Health Benefits Plan who pay anywhere from 3 percent to 35 percent of their health insurance premiums the opportunity to pay a percentage of their salary, reducing their costs to between 2 percent and 8 percent of their pay.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer

“The right to exercise religious freedom does not exist for communities paralyzed by fear. Attacks in Charleston, Pittsburg, Poway, and Jersey City have left religious communities throughout New Jersey terrified that the same violence could occur in their places of worship. With the resurgence of racist and anti-Semitic violence, we must ensure that religious communities have the necessary resources to protect themselves against terrorism. The proposed additional funding for the Nonprofit Security Aid Grant is an vital and critical step in protecting the rights of every New Jersey resident.”

“The Governor’s proposed budget also provides additional funding for parochial and private schools for security enhancements. I applaud the Governor for his absolute commitment to ensuring the safety of all New Jersey’s children no matter where they attend school. The Governor has proven himself time and time again to be a champion on this issue. The safety of over 150,000 children who attend parochial and private schools in New Jersey will be dramatically transformed.”

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho

“Governor Murphy spending plan is 5% larger than last year’s and 18% higher than when he took office,” said Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer. “He’s already raised taxes by billions and proposed nearly a billion more in tax increases this year. What we haven’t seen from the governor is a genuine attempt to lower the real cost drivers in government.”

“Governor Murphy is nibbling around the edges of healthcare costs, but he’s not taking the steps needed to make real reductions that would produce savings for taxpayers,” added Oroho. “Until he starts working with the Legislature to enact bona fide structural reforms, including addressing the rising costs of public employee pension and health benefits, the burden on taxpayers will just keep growing and the out-migration from New Jersey will continue.”

Sue Altman, Executive Director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance and Co-Convener for For The Many NJ

“Governor Murphy’s budget makes critical, new investments in programs working families rely on, putting the needs of ordinary people over those of corporate special interests.  With increased funding for public education, from pre-K through college, NJ Transit, and tax credits for working families, the governor is building a strong foundation for New Jersey’s future. This budget also takes necessary steps to meet the state’s obligations and prepare for the next economic downturn or superstorm with a record-setting payment into the  public pension system and another deposit into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.”

Brandon McKoy, President of New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) and Co-Convener of For The Many NJ

“We are pleased to see Governor Murphy is committed to repairing years of flat funding for key programs, raids on dedicated funds, and disinvestment across the board.  This is a fiscally responsible budget that brings New Jersey closer to reaching its full potential. For the state to create an economy that works for the many, New Jersey needs big and bold tax reform to fully fund programs and services that were slashed over the past decade. The millionaires tax is an important step toward that goal but, with wealth inequality at an all-time high, the state can and must do more to ensure millionaires and big corporations pay their fair share. State lawmakers must explore repealing Christie-era tax cuts that primarily benefited ultra-wealthy families and corporations in order to truly address income inequality and reduce the racial wealth gap.”

Eric Benson, Campaign Director, Clean Water Action

“The climate and water crises are getting worse, require global action, and we must be a leader. The governor’s climate rules, NJ Transit, BPU’s Clean Energy Fund, and DEP’s drinking water programs are all severely underfunded. After 25 years of fiscal irresponsibility, it is critical that the governor and legislature work together to secure new revenue for these prudent and desperately needed investments.”

Staci Berger, President and CEO, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey

“Governor Murphy is being true to his word by investing in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create the homes New Jersey’s residents and economy need.  New Jersey remains number one in the foreclosure crisis and is the sixth most expensive place to rent a two bedroom apartment in the country. In order for our economy to be stronger and fairer to all, everyone must have an affordable, safe place to call home. We applaud the governor and his Administration for delivering on the promise to provide critical resources to help to make sure we can address the housing needs of all of our residents. We look forward to working with the Murphy administration, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin and the entire Legislature to adopt a budget that includes full funding of the trust fund so our communities and neighbors can thrive.”

Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey

“Historic investments in NJ Transit are desperately needed and welcome. But NJ Transit budgets still rely on habitual raiding of the Clean Energy Fund. There needs to be a commitment to provide a stable, dedicated funding source for NJ Transit, to use Clean Energy Fund transit dollars to electrify NJ Transit buses and then permanently dedicate the Clean Energy Fund.”

Sharon Krengel, Policy and Outreach Director, Education Law Center

“We appreciate Governor Murphy’s proposed increase in K-12 aid. It is imperative that the aid increase be targeted to districts currently funded below adequacy under the SFRA formula. An additional $50 million for districts hit by Senate Bill 2 aid cuts is welcome, but we will continue to push for no state aid cuts in districts with adequacy gaps.”

New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech

“Hard-working families deserve affordable health insurance, and we’re grateful the governor is including reforms that our union brothers and sisters suggested to lower health insurance costs for employers and employees alike.”

“We also are thankful for Governor Murphy’s Corporate Responsibility Fee, which will be charged to large corporations that do not provide health insurance to their employees,” Wowkanech said. “This is totally a matter of fairness.”

New Jersey’s working families benefit from strong public education, from attracting businesses that hire new workers, and from quicker permits to get projects started.  And we look forward to the great union jobs the replacement Portal Bridge will bring.”

ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Farrin Anell

“When the state invests in social justice, the returns are exponential for all of us. We’re encouraged by Governor Murphy’s intention to put resources behind the important work of expanding our civil rights – but we also urge him to go even further, particularly in expanding access to counsel for people facing potential deportation.

“New Jersey’s two-year-old program of legal representation for people who are detained and facing deportation is already helping hundreds of families as they fight to stay together.  While we are encouraged by Governor Murphy’s ongoing commitment to this program, we call on our state to do more, and strengthen its commitment to this essential program through full funding. In the face of intensifying anti-immigrant rhetoric and federal attacks on immigrant communities, including the threat of militarized immigration enforcement, the Garden State must stand up to guarantee the fundamental right to due process for all. The proposed funding of $3.1 million leaves too many of our neighbors to face the federal deportation machine alone, without the most basic protection of a lawyer standing beside them.

“The ACLU-NJ welcomes the opportunity to work with the Legislature in finalizing the budget that will make for a fairer and more just Garden State.”

State Senator Ronald Rice

“There were many funding priorities outlined in the Governor’s budget address that the Legislative Black Caucus has been pushing for a long time now. Specifically funding to replace lead water lines, combat disproportionate infant and maternal mortality rates in communities of color and keep kids out of the juvenile justice system. I am especially excited about the proposal to fully fund the Amistad Commission will be fully funded.

“Despite all that was said, I will not vote for any budget until we pass legislation to decriminalize marijuana. We have an opportunity to enact meaningful social justice reform in New Jersey, but we have to have a real commitment to get it done. By releasing those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, we will free up $140 million in the budget.

“Black and brown people are three times more likely to be incarcerated for committing the same nonviolent drug offense as their white counterparts. We cannot wait nine months for the referendum when our communities are hurting right now.”

Senate President Pro-Tempore Teresa Ruiz

“Today’s address was a tremendous start to the budget process in New Jersey. Making investments in early childhood education and our school system is closely aligned with my policy priorities and I look forward to helping craft the Legislature’s budget in the months ahead.

“Early childhood education is pivotal in shaping a child’s academic career. As we continue to increase funding, hopefully, in the near future, everyone in the state will have access to pre-k regardless of their socioeconomic status.

“By continuing to ramp up towards fully funding public schools at the state level we can improve the quality of education while also reducing property taxes. As we work to redistribute school funding so the funding follows the student, stabilization aid will help provide overfunded schools with a smooth transition. With investments in both pre-K and K-12 education, the FY2021 Budget will put us one step closer to fully funding the school funding formula and reaching educational equity in New Jersey.”

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