Gov. Murphy says he cannot sign legislators' $36.5B budget

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Gov. Phil Murphy says he can't sign the Legislature's $36.5 billion budget because it relies on what he calls “unsustainable revenue.”

The governor said Monday his administration went "line by line" through the Democrat-led Legislature's budget.

“I cannot sign a budget I know will ultimately hurt the very people it needs to lift up,” Murphy said. “I remain committed to enacting a balanced budget on time and we still have five-plus days to go.”

The budget passed by the Legislature increases funding for schools, New Jersey Transit, and other agencies, all of which are goals of Murphy. But they rejected the governor’s tax increases. Murphy says that the budget is $1 billion short.

Any governor who wants to pass a state budget often needs the support of the Senate president and Assembly speaker. Murphy has been at odds with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, even though they are all Democrats.

Murphy wants to create a tax on millionaires and to raise the sales tax. He says that it would create about $1.3 billion in new revenue. 

But Speaker Coughlin says that he is opposed to those increases. He says that he backs a corporate tax increase.

“We have a budget that is in place. We have done our constitutional duty and sent a budget,” Coughlin said.

Murphy stopped short of vetoing the budget ahead of Saturday's deadline.

“The buck stops with me in terms of putting my signature to this budget,” Murphy said.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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