A small coalition of Democratic legislators who had come out as early supporters of Gov. Phil Murphy’s millionaire’s tax appears to be crumbling.
Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) is now the latest legislator to back off an earlier pledge to support Murphy’s plan to raise taxes on households with annual incomes in excess of $1 million, saying she’s willing to vote on a budget that doesn’t include the governor’s proposal.
“I am not abandoning my support for a millionaire’s tax and never will. However, I have an obligation as a responsible legislator to vote on a responsible budget for New Jersey,” Timberlake said. “I will support a responsible State budget even if it does not include a millionaire’s tax, while still being a staunch advocate for the millionaire’s tax until it gets done.”
Timberlake says that the state budget “has a lot of moving parts, none of which are singled out and voted on separately.”
“As a legislator it is my job to advocate for what is best for my constituents,” said Timberlake. This year’s budget presents a much different scenario than any year over the past decade. Revenues have far exceeded the expectations of both the Murphy Administration and Office of Legislative Services, which is why for the first time since 2008 excess money is being deposited into the rainy day fund.”
The Essex County Democrat joins John McKeon (D-West Orange), Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), and Benjie Wimberley (D-Paterson) in walking back their initial support for the millionaire’s tax by saying they are willing to vote for a budget proposal that doesn’t include it.
Murphy has just five of the 41 votes in the Assembly needed to pass the measure, although even that is a moot issue. He could have 79 of the 80 members of the Assembly and 39 of 40 senators, but only Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney can post a bill for a vote.