Republicans panned the Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Feb. 28 while his fellow Democrats said Murphy’s plan lines up with their spending priorities to make New Jersey more affordable.
Murphy offered his $53.1 billion spending plan that includes a proposed surplus of $10.1 billion that Murphy Administration officials say redirects nearly 74% of the total budget back out in the form of grants-in-aid for property tax relief, social services, and higher education as well as state aid to schools, community colleges, municipalities, and counties. Murphy and legislators will now begin the process of committee hearings and budget proposals to pass the 2024 budget. The state constitution mandates a balanced budget with no deficit must be ratified by July 1.
Following is the reaction from North Jersey lawmakers from both parties and members of the State Senate and Assembly budget committees.
State Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22)
“I welcome the Governor’s proposed budget to address the needs of the people of New Jersey in a fiscally responsible way. His plan puts the focus on our shared priorities of making New Jersey more affordable, addressing the needs of working people, supporting vital services and expanding economic opportunity.
“This is a budget plan we can work with. It addresses our top priority of property tax relief, includes no tax increases, no fare increases for NJ Transit, a boost in aid for education, and a full pension payment. That’s a strong foundation for a meaningful budget.
“We will review the proposal thoroughly and work to develop a state budget that uses resources efficiently to make life more affordable for our residents and invests in the programs that improve economic opportunities. We will put in place a budget that addresses immediate needs and builds a better future.”
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24)
“Governor Murphy has increased state spending by 50% since he took office, including the nearly $3.5 billion increase he has planned for next year. Despite all of this spending, he continues to cut aid to hundreds of school districts and has failed to provide real inflation relief to New Jerseyans. He’s continuing to pour billions into slush funds controlled by Democrat party bosses, while ignoring Republican plans to increase transparency and oversight of state spending.”
“New Jersey deserves relief from tax bracket creep and higher payroll taxes that will continue to take more from their wallets more next year. When the state is flush with money, there’s no excuse for Governor Murphy to continue ignoring tax relief that would make a big difference to families and businesses struggling with inflation. I’m also concerned there’s no tax deduction for contributions to charitable organizations that offer important services in our communities that governments would otherwise have to provide at taxpayer expense.”
“Since he took office, Governor Murphy has cut funding each year to hundreds of rural and suburban school districts. If we’re funneling $1 billion more into education, there shouldn’t be cuts to any school districts, especially as we’re dealing with plunging test scores and pandemic learning loss across New Jersey.”
“Republicans have proposed fixes to stop wasteful spending and offer inflation relief that Democrats have ignored. We’ve proposed more transparent and fair processes for using pandemic and debt relief funds to help taxpayers, lower state debt, and fund important programs. We’ve proposed targeted tax cuts to make the state more competitive, and proposed protecting our schools from harmful cuts in state aid. We can address all of these problems with the solutions Republicans have proposed.”
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19), Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-6) and Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29)
“Governor Murphy’s proposed FY2024 budget is a strong, smart start. We share the priorities of addressing affordability for New Jersey families while making prudent investments for the future.
“We look forward to building on the largest property tax relief program in state history, lowering prescription drug costs for our seniors, and continuing to find a way to support our seniors. The Governor’s proposed renewal and expansion of property tax relief programs like ANCHOR and the Senior Freeze demonstrates Democrats’ commitment to making New Jersey more affordable. Similarly, increased school aid will not only help students and teachers but will also ease local tax burdens across the state.
“We welcome the Governor’s fiscally responsible budget that continues to invest in programs and services that New Jerseyans have come to expect. Things like paying down debt, helping New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents and supporting working families through an expanded Child Tax Credit. We look forward to a robust review of the proposal in the weeks and months ahead.”
Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio (R-23)
“A $10 billion surplus is a big chunk of money, and a great deal of it should be in the pockets of New Jerseyans…[Murphy’s] number one mission in his administration is to protect government services, not to protect the taxpayers of New Jersey by returning their money to them.”
State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36), Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman
“This is a serious spending plan that will be given a thorough review by the Senate Budget Committee in the months ahead.
“Our top priority is to find sustainable ways to make the lives of New Jersey’s residents more affordable, to reduce their cost of living and to provide tax relief for homeowners, renters, businesses, families and seniors. The Governor’s proposal has no tax increases, tax relief for residents and businesses, no fare increases for NJ Transit, and fiscally effective investments in school aid and the pension fund.
“We have to be mindful of the national and international conditions that could impact the economy, state revenues and the financial well-being of the state’s residents and businesses.
“We need to continue to be fiscally responsible with the use of our resources and look to identify savings in state spending at the same time we make strategic investments in infrastructure and to expand economic opportunities. The large surplus provides a prudent safety net in preparation of any potential economic downturns and the debt reduction will reduce long-term costs.
“We will use the Governor’s proposal to produce a state budget that addresses our needs in a responsible and effective way.”
State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), the Republican Budget Officer
“The Murphy administration continues to hoard tax overcollections while people are suffering. Instead of providing real tax relief to New Jerseyans, the governor is building a massive $10 billion surplus that will get devalued by inflation. We should focus on addressing tax bracket creep and providing inflation relief to New Jerseyans.
“We support paying down debt, but we shouldn’t put billions into an opaque slush fund controlled by Democrat party bosses. There’s no guarantee any of the money will be used to pay down debt. It can just as easily be used to fund pork projects favored by Democrat bosses and falsely billed as ‘debt prevention.’ That remains true for billions in remaining pandemic relief funds as well. Transparency and oversight of the process for approving the use of these funds needs to increase substantially. Proposed uses of debt and pandemic relief funds should be approved by the full Legislature after open public hearings. The current closed JBOC process is ripe for abuse.”
Assembly Hal Wirths (R-24), Republican Budget Officer
“It’s an election year budget for the Democrats, filled with a lot of gimmicks. Are there good things in there? Of course there are. But this is our money. We were overtaxed tremendously, up to $53 billion, so we need real structural reform if we’re going to make a difference.”
State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29)
“Today’s budget address continues to reinforce our commitment to investing in our families by doubling the child tax credit, investing in student mental health and bringing us closer to fully funding our schools. I am grateful to have the Governor as a partner in our continued efforts to address the teacher shortage, expand access to early childhood education and bolster the childcare infrastructure. I look forward to the budget discussions and continuing the critical work of repairing and building new schools and ensuring the state has a robust plan in place to address the learning loss that has compounded over the last three years. These efforts underscore our commitment as a state to invest in the next generation and work towards a day when all of our students and families have access to the highest quality education in the country regardless of where they live in this state.”
State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25)
“We’re concerned that there’s still no mention of indexing income tax brackets for inflation as we’ve proposed to provide inflation relief to New Jerseyans. This is a simple solution employed by both the federal government and 37 other states to protect low- and moderate-income workers and families from the harmful impact of tax bracket creep. There’s also no deduction for charitable donations to the non-profits that serve our communities. These charitable organizations provide important services in hundreds of communities that government agencies would otherwise have to provide at taxpayer expense. It’s time to finally implement these common-sense proposals that Republicans have offered for years.”
Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24)
“As I have opposed Murphy’s budgets in the past, this year’s budget proposal is loaded with pork and spending geared to liberal special interest groups and for social engineering. If this year’s final budget proposal is like the previous Murphy budgets, millions of taxpayers’ money will be spent on Planned Parenthood, illegal immigrants, gun control measures, lawsuits against energy companies, and the forced electrification of our homes, businesses, and cars on the altar of so-called ‘green energy.’
“While we have unnecessary spending increases, Murphy and the legislative Democrat leadership have no plan to fully fund all of our schools in Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties nor provide high speed broadband to our area nor provide money to landowners whose properties were devalued due to extreme environmental measures such as the Highlands. Their answer to us here is ‘raise your property taxes’.
“Murphy’s spending spree will continue, even in the face of an economic downturn which every financial expert is predicting we are heading into. If major cuts and reforms are not made from now until June 30, I will once again oppose the budget.”
Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-40)
“Governor Murphy is taking a victory lap for following the law to drop the surcharge on corporations at the end of the year. I’m sorry, but he doesn’t get a star for following through on a statutory promise. He falsely claims that this budget includes a corporate tax cut when in reality it just doesn’t raise a new one. The truth is that New Jersey is still dead last for business climate and this administration has not helped make the state any more competitive.”
“It is imperative that we put policies in place to attract and retain business and that can only be accomplished by actually cutting our corporate business tax, not just letting the surcharge sunset. Pennsylvania is on a path to gradually lower their corporate rate to 4.99% by 2031 while New Jersey will still be charging one of the top rates in the nation. I am once again renewing my calls on Legislative leadership to post my bill for consideration, so we can improve our economy and keep families in the Garden State.”
“The extra revenue from the high corporate tax rate is not worth the fall out. We are hurting hardworking, regular families. The best way to stem outbound migration is to promote a vibrant economy with tax cuts, not more spending and disingenuous talking points.”
Jack Ciattarelli, the 2021 GOP Gubernatorial nominee
“Governor Murphy’s 2024 budget is yet another failed opportunity to provide meaningful and lasting relief to the highest taxed people in the country. Let’s be clear, Governor Murphy’s gimmicks and short-term bandaids are not tax relief, they are talking points. And unfortunately, that’s all Governor Murphy offered today, empty talking points. Once again, his budget does nothing to fix our worst in the nation business climate or permanently address our growing property tax crisis – both of which drive families and good paying jobs out of our state each and every day.
“This is a problem of will, not resources. Thanks to the federal government, Governor Murphy is sitting on billions in surplus. Many, myself and legislative Republicans included, have laid out substantive proposals to use that funding to immediately lower taxes, protect our communities, educate our students hurt by pandemic learning loss, and invest in our future. Unfortunately, Governor Murphy chose to ignore those proposals in favor of a budget that continues his reckless spending – the budget is up more than $18 billion since he took office!
“Why? Because this Governor is more interested in running for President on the backs of New Jersey taxpayers than he is in truly leaving New Jersey stronger and fairer.”
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