REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JACK CIATTARELLI
STATE SENATOR DECLAN O’SCANLON
“We must remember where we started, fiscally, before the pandemic mayhem because that’s exactly where we’re going to end up when it’s over. Except, the hole will be deeper, the debt our children owe will be even more massive and the path to true solvency even more insurmountable.
“The Governor’s budget is increasing spending by 11% since last year and by about 30% since he took office three years ago. It’s fueled by one time windfalls of federal revenue, massive one-time borrowings, and spending down surplus. Much of the spending is for government growth including salary and benefit increases, new programs, and expanded programs.
“And while we are living on fleeting, one-shot revenues, and instituting spending that will go on forever, the budget is devoid of common sense and bipartisan efforts to control costs over the long term like ending pension and health benefit excesses, reestablishing binding arbitration reforms, or providing more sustainable compensation increases for employees while so many are unemployed.
“It is especially in times of unsustainable revenue windfalls that we need the restraint of clear-headed fiscal responsibility. The spending in this budget is nowhere close to sustainable. And claims of no new taxes are simply, demonstrably untrue.
“The Governor just raised regressive employee payroll taxes taken out of the first $138,000 of employees’ paychecks by 75%. That follows on top of a similar increase last year such that the maximum amount being taken out of an employee’s paycheck on an annual basis climbed from $80 just 14 months ago to almost $1,000 annually this year.
“And scheduled for July 1, there will be another $350 million tax increase on all employers, including small businesses and nonprofits, based on payroll.
“But worse than the disingenuous comments that there are no tax increases this year, the use of one-time revenues of more than $3 billion to pay recurring pending this year means that this Governor will be proposing to raise taxes by that amount or kick the can down the road again next year.
“Governor Murphy may not admit it, but taxes are going up this year and he has the tax gun cocked, loaded, and aimed at New Jerseyans’ wallets for right after his reelection, and beyond.”
SENATE REPUBLICAN BUDGET OFFICER STEVE OROHO
“Let’s be perfectly clear. Governor Murphy’s election-year budget is about protecting one job, his own.
“Senate Republicans have been warning since last June and July that the Murphy Administration was peddling a false doom-and-gloom financial picture despite clear evidence that New Jersey’s finances had rebounded quickly as lockdowns eased.
“Instead of heeding our calls last spring and summer to fund urgently needed relief programs, the governor chose to sit on a growing pile of cash while one-third of New Jersey’s small businesses closed and nonprofits and families struggled.
“Today, Governor Murphy is doing exactly what we said he would do when the current budget, with its low-ball revenue projections, was under consideration last fall. He revealed a massive multi-billion dollar surplus, as predicted, that he’ll start spending this summer as he kicks off his reelection campaign.
“It’s further proof that there was absolutely no need for the Murphy Administration to borrow $4.3 billion last November, debt that we warned was unnecessary months earlier.
“Don’t buy his claim that there are no tax hikes in the budget. Payroll taxes are going up this year, which will hit the paychecks of employees and employers who are already struggling.
“His proposed budget would spend down billions in surplus, which won’t be sustainable beyond a single year. If Governor Murphy is reelected, it’s an absolute certainty he’ll call for tax increases next year to keep his spending spree going.”
NEW JERSEY AFL-CIO PRESIDENT CHARLES WOWKANECH AND SECRETARY-TREASURER LAUREL BRENNAN
“With the programs he prioritized in his 2022 State Budget Address, Gov. Phil Murphy is putting the well-being of New Jersey’s working families first and foremost.
“By emphasizing tax fairness and investment in education and infrastructure in this budget proposal, Governor Murphy clearly aims to lighten the burden on hard-hit families while helping to bring back jobs and financial security,” New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said. “After a year of unprecedented hardship and job loss due to the pandemic, the governor has taken a wise path toward reopening New Jersey with good-paying jobs for today and the future.”
Enhanced state aid to school districts means local property taxes can remain stable. The governor’s proposed state aid, coupled with ongoing federal funding, will allow local school districts to make the physical changes they need to reopen safely. The aid to school districts also will bolster teacher training and deal with the digital divide, learning losses and mental stress on students, teachers and families during a year of extended remote and hybrid classes.
New Jerseyans will benefit from an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, providing $320 million in direct payments to working families. And families making up to $150,000 will be able to claim the child and dependent care tax credit, making it possible for some parents to return to work.
Funding for infrastructure and rehabilitation projects such as the Portal North and Raritan River bridges, the Walter Rand Transportation Center, Newark Penn Station, local rail stations and other projects is an investment for the future and a source of good union construction jobs.
NJ Transit will reach its full complement of 390 train engineers. And by continuing New Jersey’s investment in transportation, Governor Murphy is ensuring that frontline essential workers in all sectors of labor who rely on public transit will get to work safely and on time.
Replacing the antiquated computers at the Department of Labor will get unemployed workers the benefits they have earned and deserve more quickly.
The proposed 2022 budget also will fully fund New Jersey’s pension system for the first time since Fiscal 1996. This historic payment not only provides financial security for retirees, it also saves all Garden State taxpayers $861 million over coming years.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO commends Governor Murphy on this budget proposal and looks forward to working with him and the Legislature for its passage.”
STATE SENATOR ANTHONY M. BUCCO
“Over the past year, millions of New Jerseyans have suffered due to broken and outdated State computer systems that are responsible for unemployment benefits, MVC transactions, and scheduling vaccine appointments. When Governor Murphy is sitting on a multi-billion budget surplus, it’s beyond disappointing that he was unwilling to detail any planned investments in upgrading these critical systems that people depend upon.”
“We now know that the budget surplus is much bigger than we anticipated. Fixing the broken systems matters to New Jerseyans, it should matter to Governor Murphy, too. If he really plans on funding these projects, he shouldn’t hide the details.”
NEW JERSEY BUSINESS & INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION CEO MICHELE SIEKERKA
“NJBIA welcomes Governor Murphy’s efforts to prepare a state budget that contains no taxes or raised fees. This decision is as appropriate as it is appreciated, given the increased tax burdens on businesses and residents over recent years which have greatly contributed to New Jersey’s current surplus.
“The governor also deserves credit for committing to New Jersey’s first full pension payment since 1996, and for looking to reinvest in our great state through appropriations for education, infrastructure, innovation and small business. These are positives, all of which NJBIA called for prior to today’s budget address, as New Jersey businesses have continued to provide robust revenues commensurate with already having the highest corporate business tax and second highest top income tax rate in the nation.
“As we await more details on the FY22 budget, we do continue to have strong concerns about the sustainability of New Jersey’s overall spending. If the proposed $44.8 billion number holds for FY22, it would mean New Jersey’s signed budgets will have increased more than 29% over the last four fiscal years.
“If the investments we heard today are to be sustainable in FY23 and beyond, our state will certainly need more fiscal discipline. A reprieve from new taxes cannot be an election year special. Despite the strong pension payment put forth by the governor today, New Jersey’s pension and benefits system remains wholly unsustainable.
“New Jersey’s overall fiscal health will only be truly cured by a real commitment to cost savings and structural reforms as found in the Path to Progress report. NJBIA continues to call for these reforms as part of a comprehensive economic plan.
“NJBIA looks forward to working with the Murphy administration and the Legislature during this budget season to help further address New Jersey’s long-term affordability, to bring further and immediate support to small business in this historic time and to galvanize our economy for the benefit of all our citizens.”
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS STATE DIRECTOR EILEEN KEAN
“It is good to hear our Governor is not seeking to raise taxes and wants to provide additional relief to small businesses that are still struggling. Today, nearly a year since state-ordered business shutdowns, many small businesses remain under state capacity restrictions and their future is very fragile. It is also is appreciated that the state won’t tax the federal PPP loans that saved so many businesses.
Gov. Murphy said full funding of the pension obligation will create long-term solvency. But to prevent the exponential growth of future pension costs the benefit must be restructured to make it sustainable. A responsible step like that would offer business owners more certainty and give them the confidence to grow. Wouldn’t that make for the stronger post-pandemic New Jersey the Governor talks about?”
SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN PAUL SARLO
“The Governor has done his job by presenting us with a budget proposal and it is now the Legislature’s responsibility to give the proposal a thorough review and put in place a fiscally responsible spending plan. We will work to produce a state budget that maximizes the effectiveness of government services and makes the best use of public resources.”
SENATE PRESIDENT PRO-TEMPORE TERESA RUIZ
“I applaud the administration fulfilling the commitment of S-2 and recognizing the detrimental impact last year’s flat funding had on our districts. With this year’s budget, we are back on track to fully funding our public schools by FY2025. The Governor’s continued investment in early childhood education is extremely encouraging, as it has been a cornerstone of my legislative agenda for a long time. We know that universal access to pre-K is one of the greatest equalizers at our disposal and we are one step closer to providing that for all of New Jersey’s children. In the months ahead, it is crucial we are doing everything we can to provide students a safe return to their classrooms so that we can begin to address the learning loss which has been compounded over the last year.”
NEW JERSEY HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
“Thank you to Governor Murphy for a budget proposal that recognizes the critical role of our healthcare infrastructure and healthcare heroes in both responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and leading the way back. As we enter the second year of this pandemic, we know the steep financial costs for healthcare facilities as they cared for a surge of patients, incurring the dual impact of skyrocketing expenses and plunging revenue. Increasing Charity Care funding and continuing to fund our Regional Coordinator Hospitals is a strong statement of support in recognizing these challenges.
“Throughout this long year, our hospitals have remained places of respite for all New Jerseyans, and especially for our most vulnerable citizens who have nowhere else to turn. NJHA looks forward to working with state leaders during this budget season to ensure that New Jersey’s healthcare system can emerge from the pandemic in an even stronger position.”
ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CRAIG COUGHLIN
“The Governor’s proposed budget includes things to be encouraged by: the State’s revenues are strong and positive revenue is expected going forward; the proposal does not include any new taxes or increased fees; and focus is placed on property tax relief including the funding of the Homestead Rebate and Senior Freeze Programs as well as increasing aid to our schools.
“I am also encouraged the budget proposal includes funding of the middle-class tax rebate which will provide relief to roughly 760,000 New Jersey families; recognizes the need to support New Jersey businesses; and fully funds the State’s pension obligations for the first time in 25 years – achieving a 10-year goal one year early, honoring the State’s commitment to our current and past workforce and demonstrating sound fiscal policy.
“I look forward to a thorough and robust review of the proposed budget’s spending and to looking for ways to achieve savings and reduce debt reliance as it moves through the Assembly Budget Committee.”
ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER LOUIS GREENWALD
“The Governor’s announcement that revenues from our State Sales, Income and Corporation Business taxes are outperforming expectations is certainly welcome news. It is now incumbent upon the Legislature to ensure we responsibly prioritize how we fund programs that are critical to our State’s nine million residents as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Job creation and developing a pathway for our children to safely return to the classroom is paramount to getting back to a state of normalcy. We must do all we can with the resources we have to ensure we put our friends and neighbors back to work as we strive to boost our economy and protect families in need.
“I am particularly pleased that the Governor’s proposal includes full funding for the Senior Freeze and Homestead Rebate property tax programs. These initiatives are crucial and should be embraced across party lines.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues over the next several months to craft a fair, responsible and thoughtful State budget that reflects our shared priorities and our goal for a prosperous New Jersey today and in the years to come.”
AARP NEW JERSEY DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY EVELYN LIEBMAN
We applaud Governor Murphy’s proposal to eliminate the age cap on New Jersey’s Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC). EITC is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the state. Currently, the program is not available to workers over the age of 64 – despite our workforce getting older, working longer, and workers 65-plus are the fastest growing labor pool. Under the Governor’s proposal, all older workers, regardless of their age, will benefit from the NJ EITC and the increased financial security it provides.
“Financial security in retirement is a core component of AARP’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all as we age, including for generations to come. AARP fights at both the federal and state level to ensure that all workers who have paid into their public pension systems over a lifetime of hard work have the economic security that their pensions afford in retirement. AARP applauds Governor Murphy’s proposal to fully fund the public pension system, the first time since 1996. Full funding is important to ensure the financial security of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers and their families and improve the overall health of the system.
“For the 1.7 million private sector workers who don’t have a way to save for retirement at work, we look forward to working with the Administration to stand up the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program. In 2019, Governor Murphy enacted Secure Choice, which is a public-private partnership that will allow many hardworking New Jerseyans to have a retirement savings option that puts them in control of their futures. Under the statute, the program is set to open its doors in March 2022.
“New Jerseyans, particularly older residents and those with disabilities living on low-, moderate- and fixed-incomes, have always struggled with New Jersey’s high property taxes. We commend Governor Murphy’s proposal to fund New Jersey’s Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) and Homestead Benefit programs and look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature to explore ways to update and expand these relief programs.
“These critical property tax relief programs support hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents who need the programs to afford to remain in their homes and communities, where they want to be. The Senior Freeze and Homestead Benefit programs are more important than ever, as families have been hit especially hard by the health and economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Lastly, we applaud the Governor’s proposal to expand New Jersey’s Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold programs, which would allow 20,000 additional seniors to quality for this critical assistance. Prescription drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. Residents of all ages depend on their prescriptions, and no one should have to choose between food and medicine.
“We look forward to working with the Governor and the NJ Legislature in the coming weeks and months to finalize a budget that includes these and other important priorities to ensure the financial and health security for all during these very challenging times.
FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE
“My last budget for NJ was $34.7b. Today’s proposal is $44.8b. 7.2% average spending increase per year. 29.1% over four years. And we borrowed $4.5b to support operating expenses and those bonds are not callable. Will cost taxpayers billions more. Elections do have consequences.”
ASSEMBLY BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR ELIANA PINTOR MARIN
“Nearly one year after the coronavirus pandemic upended life as we knew it, New Jersey’s economic outlook appears more promising than we could have anticipated just a few short months ago.
“In crafting the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, we must be cognizant of the current challenges we face due to COVID-19 and make investments to help our economy and residents recover.
“I, along with my colleagues on the Budget Committee, look forward to examining what was put forth today. We appreciate the breadth and positivity of the Governor’s proposals, and we share his goal of moving New Jersey forward.
“The Legislature has the enormous responsibility of approving a responsible balanced budget that advances our shared priorities and works for every New Jerseyan. It is not a responsibility we take lightly.
“In the coming weeks we look forward to gathering information and perspective from residents and stakeholders from across the state during the hearing process. The Budget Committee is committed to crafting a budget document that will prioritize the needs of hardworking New Jersey residents, protect our most vulnerable, and move our entire state forward.”
REPUBLICAN STATE CHAIRMAN MICHAEL LAVERY
“One would think that in his first post-pandemic budget proposal, Governor Murphy would focus on the needs of the people of our state, and not the wants of his liberal agenda. Unfortunately, we’re getting more of the same cut-and-paste liberal tax and spend policy that has driven our state into more debt, placed more of a burden on our citizens, and driven one third of our small businesses to closure. Our state needs a new perspective, new ideas for a new era, and most of all, a new Governor.”
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS & ALLIED EMPLOYEES PRESIDENT DEBBIE WHITE
“After years of underfunding, we applaud Governor Murphy and Treasurer Muoio for taking strides to invest in NJ’s public health infrastructure. Our state can no longer afford to neglect infectious disease prevention programs. By investing $32 million to improve capacity within local health departments and $10 million to increase Department of Health staffing and IT capacity, our state can be better prepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks across the state.
“The Governor is also moving in the right direction by investing resources in our state’s only public hospital. University Hospital was designated as one of three regional coordinators that led one of the hardest hit regions during the COVID-19 outbreak. HPAE looks forward to working with the Administration to ensure NJ meets its commitment to invest in UH as we applaud the additional $10 million investment in the hospital as well as $9 million for the designated Regional hospitals.
“Finally, we must recognize the tremendous commitment from Governor Murphy to public employees, as he becomes the first Governor in decades to fully fund the state’s debt of $6.4 million to our public pension.
“New Jersey continues to face a pandemic outbreak with tremendous challenges and we commend the Governor for the vision to not only survive this pandemic, but to be ready for the challenges that lie ahead.”
NEW JERSEY POLICY PERSPECTIVE PRESIDENT BRANDON MCKOY
“In the face of an ongoing public health crisis, the governor’s budget meets the needs of the moment with big investments in public health, housing, schools, and much more. These are the building blocks of strong communities and a strong economy, both during normal times and especially now during a pandemic.
“State government has an important role to play in New Jersey’s economic recovery, and Governor Murphy’s budget recognizes that reality. Learning the lessons of the past — specifically that investments made today will make the difference between a sluggish recovery and a strong one — the budget proposal rejects austerity and spending cuts that only served to fuel racial and economic disparities. Yes, the budget is supported in part by borrowing, but those funds are buffered by strong revenue collections that are being invested in smart, fiscally responsible areas with long-term benefits. This is a marked difference from budgets of the past that borrowed funds to simply support regressive tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected.
“While this budget has a lot in it to celebrate, it falls woefully short in one key area: it lacks pandemic relief for undocumented residents. This is a frustrating development that will harm our immigrant neighbors and loved ones who are suffering through the pandemic more than most. Immigrants are an integral part of New Jersey’s communities and economy, and while other states have prioritized critical pandemic relief, we continue to fail on this important front. We look forward to working with the Legislature to fix this in the final budget. It’s imperative that no one is left behind in New Jersey’s pandemic recovery.”
ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN JOHN BURZICHELLI
“With a strong revenue forecast on the horizon, we are now beginning to see the benefits of the sound fiscal policy decisions we’ve made over the last three budget cycles.
“Continued funding for property tax relief programs, the addition of the $500 Middle Class Rebate, and a full payment made to the state’s pension system will go a long way toward rebuilding financial resiliency for New Jersey seniors and families.
“This fiscal budget cycle is focused on recovery as well as fueling economic growth throughout the state. Creating jobs for residents and increasing support for small businesses that have been greatly impacted this year will be critical as we move forward and regain a sense of normalcy. The real truth is that the people of New Jersey need a lifeline after enduring the pandemic this past year.
“The Governor’s proposal covers all the right priorities. Now, the legislature will get to weigh in and do our part to ensure the state stays on the right fiscal track.”
DEMOCRATIC STATE CHAIRMAN JOHN CURRIE
“Governor Murphy’s budget proposal once again shows his commitment to not just leading us through the pandemic, but putting our state in a position to come out of it stronger and fairer than ever before. From making the first full payment into the state pension system in decades, to increasing funding for public schools, to providing real property tax relief to middle class families and seniors and much more, the Governor’s budget proposal meets this urgent moment and it will put us on a path to a brighter future by investing in what our residents need most. It’s never been more clear how important it is to keep New Jersey moving forward by putting the people of our state first, and Governor Murphy continues to live up to that.”
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION NEW JERSEY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AMOL SINHA
“This budget proposal comes while we are still grappling with a pandemic that has put in relief the deep racial injustices and economic inequities in our state and country, and a day after the signing of cannabis legalization and decriminalization into law, a significant moment for racial and social justice that offers promise for greater opportunity among those hit hardest by discriminatory laws and overly aggressive policing. New Jersey stands at a juncture where we must make sure that we truly live up to the possibility of the moment, and those values must be cemented through a budget that prioritizes them.”
“A day after signing marijuana legalization and decriminalization into law, we have a pressing responsibility to protect the historic level of investment in social justice, and to ensure that possession arrests truly come to an end.
“The ambitious tax and excise fee programs must fulfill their promise of strengthening the communities hit hardest by the discriminatory war on drugs – and in particular New Jersey’s Black communities – in meaningful ways that benefit the lives of residents, rather than enabling established players in the cannabis industry to exploit communities that have endured too much already. The ACLU-NJ and our partners in advocacy will advocate fiercely to ensure inclusion and equity in this industry, rather than a repetition of the inequities of prohibition.”
“With the signing of cannabis legalization and decriminalization, it more essential than ever that dedicated funding is allocated to ensure that expungements are easily accessible and free. New Jersey must commit to full implementation of expungement reform in this budget to help people clear their records and to stop the ongoing injustices of prohibition.”
“The increase in funding for the Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative, a critical program that extends access to counsel to people detained in New Jersey’s immigration detention centers, will save lives and keep families together. At a time when immigration detention can literally be a matter of life and death due to COVID-19, legal representation for people in detention is vital, and the $8.2 million now in the budget will allow the program to make an even greater impact. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and the Legislature to expand funding for this essential program even further to save lives and keep families together.”
“The expanded funding marked in the budget to guarantee reproductive health care services, including contraceptive, prenatal and delivery care, for community members currently ineligible to access these health services due to their immigration status, contributes to building a New Jersey that centers equity and prioritizes the health and wellbeing of everyone in our state.”
“We urge New Jersey to include undocumented community members in desperately needed economic relief, as the economic well-being of all of New Jersey is intertwined. We must make sure all New Jerseyans can weather the current economic storm, because when the bottom drops out for anyone, everyone is affected.
“The budget provides much-needed assistance with housing for New Jerseyans who need it most, including members of immigrant communities, which can provide a lifeline. We urge the Legislature to adopt this approach in all forms of economic relief, and to ensure that we don’t leave New Jerseyans behind.”
STATE SENATOR MICHAEL TESTA, JR.
“It’s clear that Governor Murphy’s budget doesn’t get the job done on fixing major problems with New Jersey’s unemployment system.
“Despite having a multi-billion budget surplus, the governor isn’t dedicating a single penny into shoring up our UI Fund, which incurred debt last year after people were put out of work by his executive orders. Through his failure to act, Governor Murphy is letting a major tax increase on employers take effect on July 1.
“The governor also didn’t explain what resources he will dedicate to fixing an ancient computer system that has made it impossible for unemployed workers to get the benefits they’re owed in a timely fashion. By glossing over this in his speech, it seems likely he’ll propose another band-aid fix rather than the full upgrade that’s needed to support out-of-work New Jerseyans.”
REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JOSEPH RUDY RULLO
“Governor Murphy may have kept taxes and fees stable without tax increases and made a pension payment by borrowing our children’s future into bankruptcy in this 2022 budget. Anyone can do that! Further, it is also easy to give away free college and other things by raising taxes on people who create the jobs in NJ and pay the highest property taxes. It’s not a magic tick. It’s deception and not the reality. This will only appear to fix NJ for the time being and kick the can down the road once again as has happened over many decades with every other Governor. It is just compounding the problem like debt that causes bankruptcy eventually. The symptoms of a broken NJ include unemployment, the exodus of people leaving NJ, business closings and corporations going to other states. Its an undeniable reality. Like most in NJ I am sick and tired of being number one in all the wrong things. We need to Drain The Swamp in Trenton. We can do this!”
ASSEMBLYWOMAN AURA DUNN
“The governor’s budget funds more free college and preschool when our kids aren’t even back in the classroom and schools are still being shortchanged to the tune of $700 million. His budget address completely ignored the impact that Covid has had on students and teachers in this state. It’s like he is not living in reality,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “Before we start funding new programs, we should fully fund our schools and devise a statewide reopening plan so that every child has access to the high-quality education they deserve. By kicking the school funding formula can down the road, he is only hurting the ones that he claims his budget will help: students.”