Gov. Murphy unveils $41 billion state budget in 3rd annual address
Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his third annual state budget address on Tuesday, unveiling a $41 billion plan.
Murphy said that the budget boosts money to New Jersey Transit, includes savings from public employee health care plans and will put nearly $5 billion into the state pension system.
“I am pro-jobs. I am pro-growth and I am pro-accountability,” Murphy said. “We can keep this progress going, but only with recurring and sustainable revenues. And there is no better alternative than a millionaire’s tax.”
It is still not clear if Murphy will get the millionaire’s tax – tax on incomes over $1 million. He attempted to get it last year, but was foiled by Senate President Steve Sweeney. The governor has said that the $500 million a millionaire’s tax would generate would go to property tax relief.
“They said we couldn't be both pro-growth and progressive. That we couldn't make New Jersey both stronger and fairer. But we have stayed true to our beliefs, we are who we said we would be and today we are proving the naysayers wrong,” Murphy said.
Two years into his first term, the governor said that he has made progress improving New Jersey's economy and making the state more affordable for the middle class.
“Today, property taxes are stabilizing for middle class families…wages are rising and more New Jerseyans are working – literally – than ever before,” Murphy said.
But some of the state’s Republicans say that the governor and his administration are out of touch.
“If they don’t think people think this place is expensive, then they’re not out in the real world talking to people,” says Republican Assemblyman Hal Wirths. “This is an expensive place to live and it’s getting more and more expensive.”
Republicans criticized the budget for spending on items like free community college and a tax on businesses who don't provide health insurance to their employees.
“This is the problem when you have a Democratic governor and a Democratic Legislature. They go way off the chart. They get crazy,” says Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
But the governor says, “Ours is a vision of long-term and sustainable investment in our people and our communities. And in their futures and in ours.”
The budget would also include a tax hike on cigarettes to more than $4 per pack. This would be the highest cigarette tax of any state.
Watch: Gov. Phil Murphy's full state budget address: