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The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Budget to boost $6.4 billion pension payment by $505 million

By Nikita Biryukov, June 21 2021 12:47 pm

The budget bill legislators plan to introduce Thursday will include a $505 million boost to the $6.4 billion pension payment Gov. Phil Murphy proposed in February, a senior administration source told the New Jersey Globe.

The increased payment, a topic of budget talks over recent weeks, was made possible by a $10 billion windfall fueled by $4 billion in better-than-expected revenue collections and $6 billion in federal aid money provided under the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed into law in March.

The $6.4 billion payment would already have been the first full payment into the pension in 25 years.

Earlier Monday, lawmakers revealed other appropriations that’ll be in the budget bill, which is expected to be finalized and released later Monday.

Those included $319 million for a tax rebate program providing certain residents with up to $500. The program was part of a deal lawmakers reached over the passage of a millionaire’s tax last year.

Another roughly $80 million will go toward the Homestead Benefits Program, which will now use property tax valuations from 2017 instead of 15-year-old assessments from 2006.

They also include expansions to the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Veterans Property Tax Deduction that’ll allow peacetime veterans to claim the benefit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Combined, those changes are forecasted to cost the state about $45 million.

Many other details, including the total size of the budget, remain hazy.

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