Home>Governor>Legislator statements on Gov. Phil Murphy’s Budget Address

Gov. Phil Murphy leaves the New Jersey Assembly chamber after delivering his budget address to the New Jersey Legislature on March 5, 2019

Legislator statements on Gov. Phil Murphy’s Budget Address

By David Wildstein, March 05 2019 3:43 pm

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald

“I spent the better part of a decade as chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. This budget represents our shared values and the priorities that we have been fighting for in the Legislature for the last several years, including funding for property tax relief, education, and safety net programs to protect our most vulnerable residents. I’m encouraged that this governor has listened to what we in the Legislature have been advocating for and has made efforts to obtain cost savings and focus on supporting the middle class families of New Jersey.

“Assembly Democrats will now take a deep dive into the Governor’s proposal over the next several months and we will help to craft a fair budget. A budget proposed is not a budget adopted and now the conversation begins between equal branches of government to hammer out the details.”

State Senator Joe Pennacchio

“Governor Murphy is trying to manage the budget with phantom numbers. This isn’t monopoly money. Governor: get your hands out of our pockets. Taxpayers have had enough and state spending is out of control.

“New Jersey has the worst business climate and the highest property taxes in the nation and these new taxes will push even more job creators out of state,” Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) said.

“Last year, Governor Murphy’s proposed tax hikes were so egregious, that even his fellow Democrats couldn’t stomach them. Nothing has changed. Don’t be surprised if the government shuts down.

“To help taxpayers, we need to enact major reforms, like platinum-to-gold pension and health benefit reform, and our new Senate Republican School Funding Plan, which will finally give special education students and property taxpayers the support they deserve. It’s time to give the people of New Jersey what they want: a fiscally-responsible government and lower taxes.”

Assemblyman John McKeon

“I applaud Governor Phil Murphy for proposing a balanced budget and eliminating the reliance on one-shot budget gimmicks and unprecedented levels of spending cuts.  The proposed cuts and efficiencies are estimated to be in excess of $1 billion.  While the success of persons earning in excess of $1 million a year should be celebrated as beneficiaries of the Trump tax cuts they are in the best position to afford a small incremental increase in income tax on the money earned in excess of $1 million dollars a year.

State Senator Declan O’Scanlon

“This budget won’t lift up the middle class. It will leave generations of New Jersey residents with no hope for a prosperous future.

“Even if the Governor’s rosy projections – of both revenue and savings – are accurate, we are still only a fraction of the way out of the hole we’re in.

“We can’t tax our way out of this mess. Without major reforms, it is a very real possibility that young public workers won’t even have a pension by the time they retire.

“I urge Governor Murphy to come to the table and hammer out a compromise with us. There is no other option,” Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said.

“The Governor’s incessant call for higher taxes is itself destructive, never mind whether the policy is enacted or not. Just last week, Warren Buffet warned business owners not to set up shop in states with unfunded pension liabilities, because they will eventually turn to job creators and high earners to fill government coffers. Governor Murphy’s rhetoric today will lead to a lower standard of living for our children. It’s devastating.

“We’ve already seen the impact of Governor Murphy’s first income tax hike last year. Revenues are actually down, but he’s back again with the same failed solution. It’s like a line one would expect in a Dr. Seuss story: ‘If some is bad, more must be better!’ You don’t need to take Republicans’ word for it. Even Governor Cuomo thinks a millionaire’s tax drives people out of state.

“The Governor’s statement that no one in the middle class will pay the increased income tax isn’t true. The middle class will suffer from reduced job creation, increased tax pressure and unrealized economic growth that simply won’t happen because we’ve driven our highest paying taxpayers and job creators out of the state. So yes, we will pay for the bad choices we make today.

“Bottom line – any of the governor’s ideas to save money are a drop in the bucket compared to pension and health benefit reform.

“I won’t stand by and let Governor Murphy continue to lead our state over the cliffs of fiscal insanity. I hope those who have advocated for a ‘path to progress’ will fight alongside me.”

State Senator Vin Gopal

“Today’s budget introduction by Governor Murphy was a positive first step,” said Senator Gopal. “I appreciate the Governor’s strong advocacy on behalf of women’s healthcare funding, mental health funding, and support for veterans. However, if we are going to discuss any type of tax increase, we need to put forth long-term property tax reduction measures that will benefit all New Jerseyans, such as school district regionalization and state-funded special education. Monmouth County’s property taxes consistently rank in our nation’s highest 15 counties. I look forward to having these conversations with the Governor’s office and the legislature in the months ahead.”

State Senator Steve Oroho

“If we enacted the structural reforms outlined in our bipartisan ‘Path to Progress’ report, the tax increases the governor is proposing would be completely unnecessary. The announced health care savings are a positive step, if they prove to be true. We haven’t seen any details yet that would help to verify those claims. I’m concerned that the governor still hasn’t addressed the critical need to enact reforms that have been proposed on a bipartisan basis to sustainably rein in the costs of providing pension and health care benefits over time.

“I’m also extremely troubled about the governor’s income tax proposal. The continued outmigration of wealth from our state puts tremendous pressure on our fiscal stability and the governor’s latest proposal will only continue that trend if adopted. New York Governor Cuomo recently echoed those sentiments, saying this type of income tax increase ‘would be the worst thing to do,’ because those impacted can easily move. Let’s leave this proposal at the doorstep and work on lasting revenue growth.

“We witnessed many school districts from around the state come to Trenton today to protest education funding cuts. The governor’s budget maintains the status quo, hurting many school programs and increasing the property tax burden in those communities. I would hope the Senate Republican “Every Child Counts” plan represents the start of a discussion on truly making school funding fairer for all districts in New Jersey.

“While I will give the governor credit for exercising some caution by not bloating the budget further with excessive new spending, I think he missed the mark by not fully embracing true structural reforms to government. Over the next several weeks and months ahead, I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to scrub the governor’s budget proposal as we look to adopt a responsible fiscal plan that moves our state forward and makes it more affordable for all New Jerseyans.”

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