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Gov. Phil Murphy delivers his State of the State address in January 2020. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Statements on the Budget Deal

By David Wildstein, September 17 2020 11:27 am


“New Jersey’s tax code just got a lot fairer with the budget deal announced by Governor Murphy and legislative leadership. Calling on the state’s wealthiest residents to help fund New Jersey’s pandemic recovery is both smart and just policy, especially now during an economic downturn that has disproportionately harmed low-paid workers and communities of color.

“While many states across the country are balancing their budgets with steep spending cuts, New Jersey’s legislative leaders made the right choice in rejecting austerity measures like those made in response to the Great Recession. This deal recognizes the importance of maintaining state investments that grow our economy and protect families harmed during the pandemic.“There is still much more work to be done. Even with this deal, New Jersey needs more resources to meet its obligations, address future challenges, and advance racial equity and economic justice. We eagerly await details regarding funding for programs and will provide analysis of those decisions when they are made public.”


“This tax increase in exchange for suggested middle class relief is a gimmick that further verifies what we have said all along – increased taxes were always completely unnecessary as part of the FY2021 budget that already includes billions in bonding.
“We note that the relief tied to this tax increase is undermined by other non-budget hikes for tolls and gas and other proposed taxes in the budget. Our taxpayers need real tax reform that includes property tax relief, while this does not really improve our overall affordability crisis or remove us from the edge of our fiscal cliff.
“It does not get to the root causes of our lost $24 billion in net adjusted gross income over the a 12-year span. It incentivizes those who can live anywhere and work remotely, to leave New Jersey.
“Governor Murphy’s budget also calls for a corporate business tax (CBT) increase that would give New Jersey the highest CBT rate in the nation in 2021. Perhaps our policymakers honestly believe that our state can simultaneously be an extreme outlier in both CBT and top income tax rates and expect to attract top talent and businesses from around the country. We wholeheartedly disagree.

“Additionally, we are still encumbered with a proposed budget that calls for $4 billion in unnecessary bonding that will worsen our untenable debt load. This budget includes no economic stimulus or path to job creation. There appears to be no appetite to fix an unsustainable pension system through reforms. There is no holistic policy to cure what ails New Jersey. There is seemingly only the will to tax, spend and bury our job creators while they’re down.

“New Jersey deserves much better from our governor and legislative leadership.”


New Jersey Working Families lauds this landmark agreement. A millionaires’ tax is key to making New Jersey’s tax burden more equitable and ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share.

This agreement comes at a particularly important time, amid a global pandemic, record-high unemployment and a national conversation about the systemic racism that continues to hurt low-income communities and communities of color.

As the budget process plays out, this agreement must be the cornerstone of a final spending plan that focuses resources on those most in need and focuses on building back a fairer economy that benefits working families — and not the politically connected.

We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and the Legislature on making this goal a reality.


“Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey state legislature’s deal to pass a tax on New Jersey’s wealthiest is a crucial step toward fairness and equity at a time when working families across New Jersey are suffering unimaginable harm and income inequality is at peak levels. For years, immigrant and working class members of Make the Road NJ have marched, petitioned and fought for tax fairness. Today, we take a critical step towards justice. However, a half million undocumented immigrants and potentially 225,000 US citizens are still left behind by COVID aid, passing the six month mark without a penny in government relief. We urge the state legislature and Governor Murphy to start a COVID relief fund for excluded workers and their families, and to include immigrant tax filers – who pay $600 million in state and local taxes each year, and have contributed $1.2 billion to New Jersey’s unemployment coffers over the past ten years – in the tax rebate. There cannot be tax justice when we leave more than a half million New Jerseyans – whose labor we rely on to keep all of us safe – behind.”


“CWA has supported a restoration of the tax on millionaires for many years.  We applaud Governor Phil Murphy for steadfastly maintaining his commitment to this progressive approach to raising revenue and funding services. It has been a long and hard road to get to a Millionaires Tax. And we’re grateful to our Governor, the dozens of Legislators who’ve stood up for this, Senate President Steve Sweeney and particularly Speaker Craig Coughlin for bridging the final gap. We’re pleased that an agreement has been reached with Legislative leadership. And we remain hopeful that this means there will soon be an agreement on the Budget that meets New Jersey’s need to continue funding essential services during a global pandemic, maintain the promise of retirement security, and support our shared goals to narrow income inequality and promote racial, economic and social justice. CWA’s thousands of committed essential workers – and all the New Jersey families bearing the brunt of these incredibly challenging times – deserve nothing less.”


“Year after year, IRS data shows that New Jersey continues to lose significantly more taxable income from high wage earners leaving the state than it gains from those who are moving in from elsewhere. The Democrats’ tax deal will accelerate that trend, make our State’s finances more unstable, and ultimately drive taxes higher for everyone. While the tax deal may seem like good progressive politics for Democrats with their elections on the horizon, it’s a bad economic move that will only dig the Garden State into a deeper financial hole over the long run. Harmful schemes like this have been happening for years, but the Democrats keep pulling the wool over people’s eyes. They still have done nothing to enact structural reforms that would lower costs for taxpayers.”


“Governor Cuomo has consistently warned New York’s Legislature of the harmful impact of pursuing an income tax hike like this. He’s not wrong. This tax deal is little more than New Jersey Democrats dangling a shiny object in front of taxpayers’ eyes to distract them from the bigger picture of a billion-plus dollars of tax increases they have proposed that will hurt middle-class families. When you add in the governor’s payroll tax increases, cigarette tax increases, new taxes on health care plans, and higher fees for hunters and to register motor vehicles, New Jersey families will end up paying more in total under the Democrats’ budget proposal, not less. This is a tax-raising budget any way you look at it.”


“Governor Murphy is looking to play Santa Claus with taxpayer money as he heads into his reelection next year. It’s an election year stunt, plain and simple. That’s why hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes will be collected over the next fiscal year, but none of the benefits the governor is promising will be paid out until he’s in campaign mode next summer. He’s looking to buy his reelection with your money.”


“After pushing to borrow and tax billions to support his spending plan for next year, the Governor can’t even claim the tax deal he announced is necessary to plug budget holes that resulted from COVID-19. It’s nothing more than a redistributionist scheme that provides no net benefit for the State’s finances. It’s completely and totally unnecessary. Even worse, the governor is still moving forward with his original plan to borrow and tax billions at the expense of every New Jersey family.”

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