Home>Articles>Statements on the governor’s revised budget address

Statements on the governor’s revised budget address

By Nikita Biryukov, August 25 2020 10:35 am

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver):

“With the State credit card in his pocket, Governor Murphy’s budget plan shows none of the fiscal restraint that virtually every family and small business has been forced to exercise due to the coronavirus. He wants to borrow billions, which will compound to billions more in interest and fees, to support a budget that demonstrates not one shred of creative cost-cutting reform. Generations of taxpayers will be saddled with this burden. In the end, this budget is little changed from what he proposed spending before COVID hit when State revenues were still growing. Today, however, it just seems tone deaf to propose spending so much when the people of New Jersey are struggling to pay their bills.”

State Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Franklin):

“It’s disappointing that the governor isn’t pursuing tax fairness with New York as part of his budget proposal. It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to lower taxes for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans while generating potentially billions in new tax revenues for the State. As an alternative to the borrowing and tax increases the administration has proposed for increasing spending in the State budget, this would seem to be a no-brainer. I’m not sure why the governor refuses to consider the fiscally responsible solutions we’ve proposed.”

State Sen. Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge):

“Governor Murphy continues to suggest that New Jersey is in such a dire fiscal situation that we have to beg, borrow, and steal from future generations to increase spending in the State budget. All of the revenue data we’re seeing, however, tells a completely different story. Even with the impact of COVID-19, the State is collecting just as much in taxes as it did last year. The Governor’s plan to tax and borrow seems designed to pad the budget and allow the administration to embark on a spending spree as we head into an election year. He should allow indoor dining like 47 other states, which would improve state revenues in a responsible manner while helping the 40% of unemployed workers from the hospitality industry to get back to work.”

State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Vineland):

“We have seen how resilient the State’s financial picture has been despite Governor Murphy’s insistence on keeping important segments of the New Jersey economy unnecessarily locked down for too long. His decisions have had a disproportionate impact on low-wage, minority, and female workers who have been hit the hardest. If the governor would allow industries still subject to unreasonable restrictions, including restaurants, to implement their plans to reopen safely as they have in many other states, we could get hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans back to work. With more of the New Jersey economy reopened, State revenue trends suggest we would have enough money to balance the budget without the need for all of the borrowing Governor Murphy has proposed.”

Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt

“They say, ‘Before borrowing money from a friend decide which you need most.’ Well, Governor Murphy made his choice. In the middle of a pandemic, where every New Jersey household and small business has sacrificed, made tough choices, and scaled back its spending, Phil Murphy’s appetite to spend your money is growing. Thankfully, next November, New Jersey families get to make their decision, which they want most, Phil Murphy or their money.”

“Investing in a broken pension system isn’t a solution; it just perpetuates an existing problem. Police and fire have made strides since taking the reigns of and responsibility for their system; the NJEA and CWA should be made similarly responsible. If they want to continue to invest money in a failed and antiquated pension system, they should pay the price, not taxpayers. We need to abandon this failed system and institute immediate fiscally responsible reforms for future hires.”

“It’s clear that New Jersey’s tax problems will continue as long as Democrats control Trenton, but that doesn’t have to be. The road to a safer, more affordable New Jersey isn’t paved with liberal handouts. Instead we need policies that reduce taxes, relax regulations, reward hard work and respect the Constitution. Once we see we can tackle the hard stuff, like making NJ economically attractive, education more accessible, and our cities and towns more affordable, we can unleash New Jersey’s full potential and build a state that is truly a beacon of prosperity, growth, and opportunity for all.”

Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville)
“Less than three weeks ago, the Murphy Administration told the New Jersey Supreme Court that the State would go broke if the governor couldn’t borrow nearly $10 billion.  Today we heard from Governor Murphy say that $4 billion in borrowing and $1 billion in taxes is what’s needed. Now that he has approval to borrow, the real picture is starting to come into focus. Just as we warned, it’s increasingly clear that the administration intentionally oversold the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on the State’s finances to scare the court into allowing borrowing that isn’t needed.”

“Governor Murphy is always talking about ‘data,’ well the state’s monthly revenue data shows that tax collections have largely recovered to pre-COVID level. The massive budget hole that the governor says we need to borrow and raise taxes to fill simply doesn’t exist. It’s something he created to help him next year.”

“In what world do you borrow $4 billion to build a $2 billion surplus? This is about politics, plain and simple, and the governor setting himself up with the State credit card to play Santa Claus as he heads into his re-election campaign next year.”

“Democrats have spent the past 20 years blasting away at the $2.7 billion of pension bonds issued by the Whitman administration. This is the same thing, except even more.”

New Jersey Business and Industry Association
“This budget simply does not reflect the stark reality of our times. Instead of keeping expenses low for our taxpayers, Governor Murphy is raising taxes to make New Jersey businesses less competitive. Instead of holding the line on spending, Governor Murphy has proposed spending $1.4 billion or 3.6% more than the prior year and $5.4 billion or 15.6% more than the budget three years ago before he took office.

“And instead of taking the opportunity to pursue the structural reforms that are so desperately needed to right-size our state budget and make New Jersey more affordable, this governor offers more of the same tax-and-spend policies that have brought us here to the edge of the fiscal cliff in the first place.

“New Jersey businesses have already sacrificed their revenues and livelihoods to prevent the spread of coronavirus by shutting down their operations. Business owners have tapped their own savings and taken on new debt to keep from going under completely, and to continue paying their employees what they can. New taxes on the very same businesses that have already given so much and are the only ones that can drive our future recovery is inconceivable considering that the state was just given $9.9 billion in borrowing authority.

“NJBIA calls on our Legislature to fix this irresponsible budget.”

Make the Road New Jersey’s Felix Gallardo

“Today Governor Murphy sends a message to the half million undocumented immigrant workers and our families that we are expendable. I worked at a food processing plant during the pandemic until I became sick with COVID. Because of my status, I’m ineligible for unemployment, stimulus or food stamps, despite paying taxes every year. Imagine trying to survive and feed your family for nearly five months with no paycheck and no aid? You applaud essential workers, but we don’t need your praise. We need income to keep our families alive. We are essential but excluded. We can’t be Jersey strong if we leave more than a half a million of us behind.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge)

“As I have previously stated, the unprecedented economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably make this one of the most challenging budgets we’ve ever had to face.

“The unparalleled loss of revenue and the compelling need of New Jerseyans is undeniable and will cause us to make difficult decisions. Assembly Democrats will work with the Senate and the Governor’s office to craft a budget that makes those hard choices.

“We will keep an open mind as we understand every option and proposal must be thoroughly reviewed and vetted. All options are on the table.

“I have been a longtime, staunch advocate for the Senior Freeze and  Homestead Benefit property tax programs which is why I am encouraged that the Governor’s proposal restores funding for both.

“I am also pleased that the plan includes the largest pension payment in the history of New Jersey along with a robust surplus of more than $2.3 billion. These are sound proposals.

“I look forward to the leadership of the Assembly Budget Committee led by Chairwoman Eliana Pintor Marin in standing for our shared values and working in earnest to produce a budget that is fair and responsible and protects hard-working New Jerseyans and our most vulnerable citizens.”

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge)

“I welcome the Governor’s proposal fully aware of the severe economic challenges that confront us and sensitive to the tight timetable to get the work done. There is nothing normal about the circumstances and nothing easy about the task before us. This is the most difficult budget we have experienced in our lifetime. But, I am confident that we can come together on a spending plan that makes the most of limited resources and does the best to address the needs of New Jersey in a time of crisis.
“I was encouraged by the strength of our revenue collections for the 13-month period ending in July. We need to make sure that our revenue forecasts for the upcoming fiscal year are sound and that we put all available federal aid to good use. We have to meet the challenges created by the pandemic, but we need to do it responsibly and find achievable savings too.
“Any proposal to increase taxes or add to state debt will be scrutinized cautiously to ensure that we understand how the funds will be used, the impact on our economic recovery, the state’s ability to manage debt payments, and the multi-year consequences. While our immediate responsibility is the FY-21 budget, we have to remember that economic problems may persist and that one-year fiscal solutions may leave us short.
“I expect the full co-operation of the Administration, will rely on the expertise of OLS and the legislative staff, and will work with my legislative colleagues to schedule public hearings so we can get to work.”

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees)

“The coronavirus pandemic has plunged New Jersey into an economic calamity unrivaled by any other since the Great Depression. This is a cold hard reality that we must face head-on.

“Make no mistake; difficult choices lie ahead. Shared sacrifice will be necessary, but Assembly Democrats will painstakingly comb through the Governor’s proposed plan to identify spending reductions and responsible budget solutions that take into account our shared priorities of educating our children and young adults, protecting our seniors and providing as much property tax relief as possible during this dire fiscal crisis.

“I am very pleased that the Governor’s proposal calls for restoring funding for the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze property tax relief programs. I am also very encouraged that K-12 school aid funding is not cut in this budget and that core municipal aid funding is maintained.

“Last month, in the Assembly chamber, our Republican colleagues offered to advocate for relief from the federal government. I am still waiting to hear how their talks with Washington are going.”

Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the worst economic crisis our state and nation has faced since the Great Depression. To say producing a State budget in these conditions poses unique and daunting challenges would be grossly understating our fiscal reality.

“I’m pleased the proposal restores funding for the Senior Freeze and Homestead Benefit property tax relief programs and maintains core funding aid for municipalities.

“Assembly Democrats will work tirelessly over the next several weeks to present a spending plan that is fair, realistic and as responsive as possible to New Jersey’s nine million residents.

“We will work to ensure the budget that is enacted protects hard-working families and our most vulnerable while also preserving important programs to the greatest extent possible.

“The work of crafting this budget will be grueling, but we are up to the task.”

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton)

“The governor has called for higher income taxes, higher business taxes and billions in borrowing, while making no serious spending cuts. That’s unacceptable. Everyone recognizes that the pandemic has created fiscal challenges and unprecedented uncertainties, but the Governor continues to single-handedly dig us into a deeper hole that is leading to a greater generational fiscal mess.

“New Jersey cannot and should not be raising taxes with the fourth highest unemployment rate in America and one of the largest debt burdens of any state. This is why it’s so critical to have a check-and-balance on Democrat tax-and-spend policies that year after year make it increasingly difficult to afford to live here.

“This is made even worse for the businesses lucky enough to survive the pandemic, who are punished by this Governor with even higher taxes. Record taxing, spending and borrowing will not make New Jersey stronger or fairer, it will only lead to a more expensive state and a continued exodus of families, friends and neighbors.”

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood)

“For our seniors, the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze programs are a lifeline, allowing many to stay in their homes and age with dignity. These programs are vital to supporting New Jersey’s seniors, disabled, low and middle-income residents. I commend Governor Murphy for committing to funding these programs in today’s budget address. By funding these programs, we can ensure that the roughly 680,000 New Jerseyans who rely on the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze programs have the support that they need during this challenging time.”

Brandon McKoy, President, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP):

“In the face of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, Governor Murphy’s budget proposal thoughtfully protects key state programs and services that workers and their families rely on. These investments — in public education, tuition assistance, tax credits for working families, and much more — are the building blocks of strong communities, a strong economy, and a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unlike state budgets passed during the last economic downturn, this proposal recognizes that New Jersey must balance revenue shortfalls by ensuring wealthy individuals and big corporations pay closer to their fair share in taxes. Every dollar raised through new revenue is a dollar we don’t have to cut or borrow. These revenue streams will set a strong foundation for a stable recovery, as they provide the state with resources to keep the economy afloat and deliver critical relief to families and small businesses in need.

“This budget falls short in one key area: it neglects immigrants who have been excluded from state and federal pandemic relief. Immigrants play a huge role in New Jersey’s diverse communities and local economies and deserve their share of state aid. We urge state lawmakers to do more to ensure that no one is left behind in the state’s recovery, regardless of where they were born. Only then can we be sure that our recovery will be strong and long-lasting for all.”

AFSCME New Jersey Executive Director Steve Tully

AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 supports the budget proposal that Governor Murphy unveiled today. The Governor’s proposal continues to move New Jersey in the right direction even during these challenging times. The Governor’s budget maintains investments in public services like education, transportation, higher education, and health care, while continuing to meet the State’s pension obligations to public employees. We strongly support the Governor’s plan to plug the budget gap through a combination of savings, borrowing, and creating new revenue sources to help provide quality public services that the people of New Jersey rely on.

Governor Murphy’s proposal is the start of the budget process and AFSCME New Jersey looks forward to working alongside him, Lt. Governor Oliver and those serving in the New Jersey Legislature to continue to reverse the damage done to New Jersey’s economy by the previous administration and to build a stronger, fairer economy for the people of our state.

NJ Working Families State Director Sue Altman

We are pleased that Governor Murphy chartered a course toward economic recovery today that focuses on protecting essential services and ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share.

At a time when 1.5 million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment, the governor is focusing on restoring programs that help seniors living on fixed incomes remain in their homes while launching a new Baby Bonds initiative designed to address longstanding racial and socioeconomic disparities that prevent children of color from pursuing higher education, buying a home or starting a business.

At the same time, this budget proposal calls on the wealthy and big corporations to do their part to balance a budget during an unprecedented economic crisis. Millionaires who own yachts and limousines and politically powerful businesses that have taken advantage of tax loopholes can afford to contribute more so that senior citizens and working families get the services they need to recover from this devastating pandemic.

We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and the Legislature on enacting a budget that puts the needs of working families and communities of color first by curbing the powers of corporate special interests.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr.

“The State’s revenue picture is rapidly improving, even while our New Jersey economy still has one arm tied behind its back.  We have watched as other states, including New York and Pennsylvania, have allowed more of their small businesses, including restaurants, to resume operations safely. Governor Murphy should follow their proven model and allow our New Jersey economy to begin growing again. That would further improve the State’s finances and support the State budget in a fiscally responsible manner without the unnecessary taxes or debt the governor has proposed.”

“The undeniable fact is that people want to get back to work safely.  I encourage the governor to consider how lifting unnecessary restrictions enacted by executive order could be the fastest, most efficient, and least costly way to help employees and the small businesses they work for, who have faced some of the toughest challenges in recent months.”

Assemblyman Gerald Scharfenberger (R-Middletown)

“New Jersey’s economy was decimated long before the coronavirus pandemic became the scapegoat.  For the last 2 ½ years, we’ve seen an explosion of spending and tax increases weakening an already overburdened state. When Governor Murphy took office in 2018, the budget was $34.7 billion, now it’s ballooned to $40.1 billion – COVID-19 can’t solely be blamed for that.”

“The Governor’s continuously excessive, hardline lockdown policies have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in sorely needed revenues on top of the incalculable fiscal damages for our small businesses.  Coupled with enormous job losses in just about every sector, New Jersey taxpayers are facing a torturous economic future cloaked in uncertainty. Clearly, much of the budget stress facing us is self-inflicted by NJ’s and the Governor’s policies in the past and now.”

“Making matters worse, we still don’t have a clear path forward and explanation for where and how these borrowed funds will be spent before Trenton puts another burden on New Jerseyans in the form of a property tax surcharge.  CARES Act funds are still in limbo which could’ve been used to soften the economic blow, but instead those monies are being hoarded without so much as a clue as to why.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin 

“The Governor’s proposed budget plan provides the Legislature with a clear starting point for what promises to be an unprecedented and difficult process. We all recognize that some very tough choices will need to be made in the coming weeks, but there is room for optimism as well.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the proposal we heard today restores funding for a number of important initiatives like the Homestead Benefit and Senior Freeze property tax programs. It also protects the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Each of these provide critical resources to New Jersey families, especially those struggling now.

“This pandemic has created a set of immense challenges that no legislature has dealt with in our lifetimes. As we evaluate and build upon what was presented to us today, our goal is to produce a fair, responsible financial plan that meets the needs of New Jersey’s hard-working residents while also dealing with the harsh realities we all will face over the approaching nine-month fiscal year. As chair, I look forward to working with my fellow members of the Budget Committee, the Speaker’s leadership team, and the Governor over the coming weeks to craft a budget that meets these goals.”

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel) and Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff)

Today we saw yet another inflated budget from the Murphy administration. Even more concerning is the complete lack of logic with regard to the borrowing the administration claimed was so desperately needed.

If over $2 billion in bonding is just going to sit in a savings account or rainy day fund for the future, we propose instead that this $2 billion go directly to taxpayer relief and businesses which hare hurting now. Who goes to the bank to borrow billions only to put it in a mattress?

We are breaking the backs of small businesses and mortgaging our children’s future with these continually illogical decisions. Not to mention raising taxes on a significant number of New Jersey residents. As co-chairs of the Assembly Tax Cut Caucus, we find these policies detrimental, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa)

“The budget announced today is proof Governor Murphy is taking New Jersey in the wrong direction.

“Main Street restaurants and small businesses across the state remain closed by order of the Governor while competitors across the state lines are open for business, serving New Jersey customers and sucking money out of our state.

“Shop owners and employers here are cutting back and doing everything possible to survive, and here’s Trenton, spending haphazardly and borrowing money to do it, dooming our state to unaffordability for decades to come.

“The Governor is in denial. The budget he proposed spends even more money than his previous budget, crafted in the best of economic times.

“When money gets tight, families and businesses everywhere cope by reining in spending, cutting back where they can, and living more responsibly. The state should follow that same course.

“Murphy only knows one way: spend, tax, borrow. It’s a vicious cycle that New Jerseyans cannot afford, especially now when the economy has already been crushed by coronavirus edicts and fears.

“Suffering businesses and people losing their jobs will be paying dearly for this irrational spending spree through tax increases and borrowing that is out of control. It has to stop.”

State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Neshanic Station)

“The budget proposed today by Governor Murphy is big on spending and political agenda, but comes up small on affordability and common sense.

“I wish we heard more in the way of helping people who are struggling financially during this pandemic. There are many residents in our state who are in a tough spot right now because the Governor is not focusing on getting people back to work and helping improve their personal budgets.

“This spending proposal won’t make life any easier for residents who are having difficulties making ends meet.

“With eight new taxes that would cost more than $1 billion, and $4 billion in borrowing to fund out-of-control spending initiatives, it is clear taxpayers can give up hopes for a more affordable New Jersey.”

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