Flush With Cash, NJ Budget Considers Property Tax Relief – NBC New York
What there is to know
- New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a $48.9 billion budget on Tuesday. The plan increases K-12 funding by $650 million, makes a full public pension payment for the second straight year, redistributes nearly $1 billion in property tax relief and increases overall spending by about 5% compared to last year’s plan.
- Murphy unveiled the proposal during a speech in the Assembly Hall – the first time since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The governor defended the progressive policies of his first term, including increased public spending to increase aid for education and raise taxes on the wealthy. Anticipating Republican criticism that it grew too much, too quickly, the state government said making New Jersey affordable meant spending to help low-income residents.
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a $48.9 billion budget on Tuesday. The plan increases K-12 funding by $650 million, makes a full public pension payment for the second straight year, redistributes nearly $1 billion in property tax relief and increases overall spending by about 5% compared to last year’s plan.
Murphy unveiled the proposal during a speech in the Assembly Hall – the first time since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. An emotional climax during the speech came when Murphy, acknowledging Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asked for a prayer to be said by Metropolitan Anthony, the head of the U.S.-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church. in New Jersey.
Antoine gave a brief impromptu speech after the prayer, becoming emotional at times.
“The world is mobilizing. The world sees the horror,” he said.
The governor defended the progressive policies of his first term, including increased public spending to increase aid for education and raise taxes on the wealthy. Anticipating Republican criticism that he expanded state government too much, too quickly, he said making New Jersey affordable meant spending to help low-income residents.
“For some, affordability means cutting the budget just so they can say they’ve cut the budget – even if the end result is just doing nothing at all to make life more affordable for our middle class, working people. hard to get there, or our elderly,” Murphy said.
But he also said he’s heard complaints about the state’s high costs, particularly when it comes to property taxes, which led him to announce an overhaul of the property tax rebate program. of State.
The budget depends on New Jersey’s pink finances.
Sales and income tax collections are up for the year and due to increased economic output as the state’s gross domestic product rate exceeds that of the nation and neighboring states , according to the Office of the State Treasurer and federal data.
Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, pitched himself to voters as the person to put the state’s finances in order after Republican Chris Christie’s two terms in office. Murphy prioritized reimbursing public pension payments from the state, which for the second year in a row would amount to a payout of about $6.9 billion. He is also nearly fully funding K-12 education under the state formula that Christie failed to meet. His office estimates that full funding could be achieved in two years.
He also increased the size of the state budget, which was increased by more than $14 billion from the plan adopted by Christie in his last year in office.
While the latest proposal raises no new taxes, Murphy and the Democratic-led Legislature raised income taxes on people earning more than $1 million a year as well as businesses early in his first term.
Republicans, who are in the minority, called on the governor to use the more than $4 billion in excess revenue to give $1,000 in tax credits to 4 million residents.
“It’s black and white that people are being overtaxed,” GOP Assemblyman Hal Wirths said after the speech.
Despite these concerns, Murphy’s management called in part on a credit rating agency, Moody’s, which raised the state’s rating and cited “the continued strong revenue and liquidity trends and its measures to attack liability charges more aggressively”.
Democratic House Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari welcomed the governor’s speech and proposals, but budgets generally don’t pass as written and are usually subject to of negotiations.
Murphy promised no new taxes during his second term, which began in January. He also highlighted affordability as a major issue – raising his longtime slogan about making New Jersey stronger and fairer to say he wants to make it “stronger, fairer, fairer. “.
Part of that, Murphy said, is tackling sky-high state property taxes, which average about $9,300 a year.
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He proposed revising a property tax rebate program to allow homeowners earning up to $250,000 to get a credit on their property taxes of up to $700 in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
For the first time, he also wants to include tenants. Those who earn up to $100,000 would receive rebate checks — since they don’t pay property taxes directly — up to $250.
Overall, the governor’s proposal could benefit 1.8 million residents, compared to 470,000 who currently receive property tax assistance.
His budget also proposes a one-year fee waiver for marriage licenses and for the renewal of some health care licenses. Residents could enter state parks for free under his plan.
The budget sets aside some $9.92 billion for K-12 aid, up from $9.27 billion and about $2 billion more than the funding projected shortly before Murphy took his governorship.
The spending plan would keep New Jersey Transit fares flat, meaning there would be no hikes for a fifth straight year.
The state constitution requires that a balanced budget be enacted annually, with a June 30 deadline. Lawmakers will have their say over the next few months as they conduct hearings and decide what to keep and what to drop from the governor’s proposal. .
Murphy’s proposal also calls for maintaining a $4.2 billion surplus and putting $1.3 billion into a fund for the current fiscal year to pay down debt.