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State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence)

Turner backs millionaire’s tax at Murphy town hall

Governor promises $250 million in property tax relief for tax on high earners

By Nikita Biryukov, May 06 2019 8:27 pm

State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence)  is backing Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal for a millionaire’s tax.

Turner introduced the governor at a town hall in Ewing during which Murphy announced the state’s revenues had exceeded projections.

Murphy said that, if lawmakers pass a millionaire’s tax, excess revenues to the tune of $250 million would be put up for property tax relief.

It’s not clear whether Murphy has the authority to disburse those funds, as the legislature controls appropriations, and Murphy did not say how much revenues exceeded projections.

Still, it’s not clear whether legislative leaders would seek to redirect those funds if Murphy managed to swing enough support to pass his millionaire’s tax.

Property tax relief is popular, and a move to redirect those funds could come back to bite lawmakers. The risk is greatest for the nearly 80 members of the General Assembly seeking to defend their seats in this year.

Though Murphy’s town hall largely retread past ground, the governor was pressed on a move to pull money from a fund meant to help firefighters with burial costs, medical fees and other such expenses.

“This is a fund that is six times — that has six times as much money as it needs,” Murphy said before being briefly drowned out by the crowd. “I said this morning when I was asked this by the press, that’s something that we owe the firefighters to sit down and figure this out together, which we will do. It’s a very fair point to raise, and I meant to raise it.”

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