Gov. Phil Murphy commits to spending a record $49 billion to support a broader property tax refund program and increase funding for schools and health care, while keeping his promise not to raise taxes or NJ transit fares. are planning
Backed by the federal COVID-19 Relief Fund and strong tax revenues, Murphy outlined a spending plan for fiscal 2023 on Tuesday that will help create opportunities for New Jerseyans while honoring the state’s financial commitments. says.
“This budget is attacking two of New Jersey’s most difficult and intractable problems: property taxes and affordable housing,” Murphy said in a statement made just before the COVID-19 pandemic. said in his first face-to-face speech since 2020. “We’re changing the state for the better in the long run. We’re changing New Jersey to work for every family.”
The $48.9 billion budget still needs to be approved by the Democratic-led Congress, so spending details and final numbers are subject to change until June 30, the end of this fiscal year. .
But Murphy and Democratic leaders, shaken by last November’s election loss and narrow victory, came together conceptually to focus on making the state more affordable. He said “affordable” or “affordable” 20 times in a nearly hour-long speech, making it a recurring theme of his speeches.
“When we talk about affordability and opportunity, what we are really talking about is empowering people. We’re talking about giving them more control over their lives and their futures,” Murphy said.
Republicans, who have been critical of Murphy’s past budgets, mostly withheld criticism this time around.
“What I call this budget ‘not so bad,'” R-Sussex’s John DeMaio, the parliamentary minority leader, told reporters in Republican reaction after the budget speech. .
Murphy’s property tax proposal fell short of the structural, “meaningful property tax relief” New Jerseyans desperately needed, DeMaio said.
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Meanwhile, trade groups such as the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce have rejected Murphy’s claim that there will be no new tax, and have had to pay increased payroll taxes to replenish the unemployment fund that has been depleted by the pandemic. He said he was paying for the bill.
The proposal, heard Monday by the Senate Labor Committee, would use funds from the $300 million American Relief Plan to offset tax increases for employers.
“The pandemic has left lingering problems for the business community, including capital shortages, labor shortages, and inflation, which are likely to hamper the New Jersey economy for a full-scale recovery,” said Tom Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. We have to deal with these issues.” commercial. “The budget speech was silent about these.”
Murphy’s proposal highlights include:
Property tax reduction plan
Central to Murphy’s budget is what he calls the Anchor Property Tax Relief Program. This will provide rebates to nearly 1.8 million homeowners and renters. The government says this will reduce the burden of New Jersey’s highest property tax.
Murphy’s plan was to intensify the program over three years. The state expects him to spend $900 million in 2023, his first fiscal year.
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With over 1.5 million homeowners earning up to $250,000, the average savings is $700, which comes in the form of tax rebates. According to the Murphy administration, her more than 600,000 renters eligible for the first time will receive a direct deposit or a check of up to $250 if they earn $100,000 or less.
By 2025, the third fiscal year, rebates will average $1,150, with annual government investment of $1.5 billion, the government said.
If approved, ANCHOR would replace the Homestead Rebate Program and benefited about 490,000 seniors and low-income households this year, according to the Treasury Department.
detail:Murphy touts ‘significant’ property tax relief program, rebates average $700
No new taxes and fees are ‘holidays’
Murphy, who pledged not to add taxes last year, is now offering tax and fee perks.
Murphy’s budget provides driver license renewals, marriage licenses, state park admissions, and “fee leave” for about 130,000 professionals “in the medical field” who are applying for or renewing their licenses. We are spending $60 million to
detail:Murphy pitches a “year-long fee holiday.” Exempt payments are:
Increase spending on education and health care
Murphy plans to increase aid to public schools by $650 million, for a total of $9.92 billion, as part of a seven-year plan to increase state spending on grades K-12.
He also proposes an additional $68 million for a long-term universal preschool program. Most of that funding, his $40 million, will be used to benefit his 3,000 students in about 40 school districts, according to Treasury documents.
As for health care, the budget includes $17 million in state and federal funding for the Nurses Home Visiting Program created last year to address the newborn maternal mortality “crisis.” According to Nurture NJ, led by First Lady Tammy Murphy, black mothers are seven times more likely than white mothers to die after giving birth.
The governor also plans to increase state Medicaid spending by $15 million to strengthen maternity care and increase reimbursement rates for midwives and doulas.
The budget includes more than $5.4 billion in “comprehensive” health insurance from NJ Family Care for over 1.9 million low-income households. Enrollments in that program have increased by nearly 400,000 since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Treasury Department.
An additional $11 million will be spent on the “Cover All Kids” healthcare program, which will provide access to uninsured children.
housing: Affordable housing in New Jersey could see a $300 million injection under Murphy’s budget proposal
cash on hand
The budget is largely supported by federal bailouts and strong tax revenues.
Total revenue for the current fiscal year 2022 exceeded budget by $4.6 billion. And the state still has half of the federal American Rescue Plan’s $6.2 billion in funding for the pandemic.
As a result, Murphy is proposing to nearly double the state’s surplus to $4.2 billion. He also plans to contribute his $6.82 billion to the Civil Servants Pension Fund under the payout schedule mandated by law.
Support for Ukraine, scrutiny for Russia
International issues are not usually factored into budget speeches, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a significant impact on this speech.
The blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag was hoisted alongside the US and New Jersey flags behind Murphy, House Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari. Murphy wore a light blue shirt, yellow tie, yellow pocket square, and a lapel pin with the flags of New Jersey and Ukraine to show solidarity with the Eastern European nation, which has been under siege by Russia for two weeks.
The meeting was opened with a prayer by Ukrainian religious leader Metropolitan Antony.
Murphy said his administration is evaluating whether states are financially or operationally involved with the Russian government or Russian-owned companies.
Murphy called for an end to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “provocative and desperate aggression” against Ukraine, stating “to prevent New Jersey taxpayer dollars from supporting Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.” We will take all necessary actions,” he said.
Staff writer Daniel Munoz contributed to this article.
Dustin Lascioppi is a reporter for the New Jersey State House. Subscribe now or activate your digital account for unlimited access to his work covering New Jersey governors and political power structures.
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