At his twice-a-week Covid briefing today, Gov. Phil Murphy responded to a claim from former State Sen. Diane Allen that the governor had immediately broken his pledge against raising or adding new taxes.
Allen, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, said at yesterday’s lieutenant gubernatorial debate that Murphy couldn’t be trusted on his promises.
“I really do need to point out that Governor Phil Murphy said last Tuesday that he was not going to raise any taxes for the next four years,” she said. “That was Tuesday. On Friday, he raised the taxes $250 million on businesses. So I’m not sure that we can believe that.”
But Murphy called the claim “ludicrous,” and said that the hike Allen was referring to – a $250 million increase in the payroll tax – was part of a bipartisan agreement, not a unilateral reckless tax increase.
“That was a bipartisan bill that I signed,” Murphy said. “It was to smooth out a process that otherwise would have been very abrupt for small businesses.”
Murphy also highlighted the money that the state has funneled towards small businesses, repeating his oft-cited line that New Jersey is third in the nation when it comes to funding small businesses during Covid despite only being the 11th-largest state.
“We’ve put at this point about $775 million into small businesses since the beginning of this pandemic,” he said. “And we still have American Rescue Plan money that we want to responsibly and carefully invest in the state over the next 27 months… Certainly, small businesses will be a big part of that.”