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State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon (R-Little Silver). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Legislative petition calls for special session to mitigate payroll tax hike

So far, petition has accrued support from every Republican but no Democrats

By Joey Fox, September 07 2021 2:06 pm

In response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s planned payroll tax increase this October, state legislative Republicans are circulating a petition calling for Murphy to convene a special session aimed at halting the increase.

If a majority of legislators in both chambers were to sign onto the petition, Murphy would be constitutionally required to call the special session. Every Republican in the legislature has signed the petition, but they have yet to be joined by a single Democratic colleague.

“While Governor Murphy expressed sympathy for small businesses impacted by recent flooding and storm damage, he still plans on walloping them again next month with a big financial hit they can ill afford,” State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) said in a statement. “Unlike Hurricane Ida, the next disaster that will target New Jersey’s struggling employers is completely avoidable and preventable.”

The tax hike is designed to fund the state’s unemployment insurance fund, but Republicans and some Democrats have proposed alternate methods of providing money for the fund. The petition lists several options that could be approved in a special session, including the “appropriation of unspent funds from billions in federal pandemic relief block grants delivered to New Jersey and the redirection or reprioritization of discretionary spending in the current fiscal year budget.”

A special session would also force Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) to swear in State Sen.-elect Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor), who was elected at a special convention on August 4 to fill the vacant 2nd district Senate seat but who, because the legislature has not been in session since then, has yet to be sworn in.

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