Gov. Murphy seeks tax hikes, some cuts in $40B budget address
Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his revised fiscal year 2021 budget address Tuesday morning at SHI Stadium at Rutgers University in Piscataway.
Murphy unveiled his second fiscal 2021 budget of the year at the stadium to make social distancing easier than inside the confines of the State House.
“We are in a moment unlike any other. A moment from which we cannot shrink,” Murphy said.
The governor delivered his address six months to the day after he delivered his first 2020 budget address at the State House in Trenton.
“This is not the time for any complacency. We are still fighting this virus. It is still among us and it may not be done with us,” he said.
The state is facing a budget shortfall of more than $5.5 billion due to the pandemic. Murphy says that he plans to bridge that gap through $4 billion in borrowing and $1 billion in tax increases, including a millionaire’s tax and budget cuts.
“Yes, spending cuts are absolutely necessary in the face of this crisis, and yes, some of them will hurt,” Murphy said.
But even amid the pandemic, Murphy stayed true to his progressive policies, while working themes of social justice into his speech. He endorsed the idea of “baby bonds,” a $1,000 savings bond for all babies born in the state that matures and grows in value as the child ages, to provide wealth when the child turns 18 years old.
Watch: Gov. Murphy's Full Budget Address
“We cannot send the false hope that things are going to simple snap back to the way they were before. We must have the unavoidable conversation about what it means to not only see our state through this emergency, but what we will look like when we emerge from it,” Murphy said.
The entire Legislature was socially distanced on the field to hear the governor's speech. Afterward, Republicans criticized the governor's plan to use borrowing to help maintain a budget surplus.
“To go out there and brag about surplus, when you’re borrowing money to put in the surplus, I think it’s misleading,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
“Let me tell you something, [the governor] better get together with [President Donald] Trump and build a wall around New Jersey, because we’re going to need a wall to keep people in here. You’re going to have to quarantine them to stay in this state,” said Assemblyman Hal Wirths, the Assembly GOP budget officer.
The Legislature has just over a month to consider and adopt the nine-month budget. Their deadline is midnight Sept. 30.
"History will note the sacrifices millions of you have made to save lives. And long after the generations of today have given way to the generations to come, I assure you history will note New Jersey rose to the challenge,” Murphy said.
The state is currently running on a three-month $7.7 billion budget that was passed in June.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.