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Legislature-backed budget this week: NJ Gov. says no

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Gov. Phil Murphy speaking at a press conference Monday.
Gov. Phil Murphy speaking at a press conference Monday. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy said he'll veto budgetary counter-proposals the Democrat-controlled legislature plans to bring to his desk by the end of the week even if that means shutting down the government July 1.

Speaking at a Monday morning press conference, Murphy said he won’t sign “a budget for the sake of a budget.”

He added: “I don’t want it, there’s no doubt about it. But I’m not going to sacrifice what I believe in.”

The governor said for him to approve any budget it would have to include a millionaires’ tax and a restoration of the sales tax to 7 percent, up from the current 6.625 percent. The Democratic leadership of the Legislature is opposed to both proposals, contained in Murphy’s comprehensive budget proposal advance in March.

The governor also said he was opposed to the Legislature’s planned counter-proposals because of “one-shot revenues,” which his office said would number in at $1.06 billion and ultimately leave the state with a $164 million closing balance by this time next year. 

When asked by a reporter about whether he’d utilize a line-item veto to twist lawmaker’s arms, the Governor said that “we will consider all our options.”

Murphy’s announcement follows press conference remarks by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, and Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, on Friday, when they said they would fast-track a budget through the legislature during the following week. The lawmakers said there would be Democrat budget caucus meetings on Monday, the budget-unveiling and committee approval on Tuesday, and the full approval of the Legislature on Thursday.

Sweeney and Sarlo have pushed for raising the corporate business tax to 12 percent, up from its current 9 percent. Murphy said he’s opposed to the CBT raise.

“I worry about our competition, we’re already at 9 percent, New York is at 6 1/4,” Murphy said, adding that it would “cut into small and medium-sized” businesses.

Sweeney said additional taxes, such as the millionaire’s tax, should be considered a last resort.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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John Uzzi June 18, 2018 3:24 pm

Nice, now we have Democrats who can't seem to collaborate with other Democrats never mind crossing the aisle.

Michael T. Vail June 18, 2018 3:40 pm

Exactly how much spending has the Legislature or Governor, for that matter, identified as likely to be cut? Plain and simple - the cost of government is simply beyond what is reasonable at the municipal, county and state levels. We have borrowed and spent well beyond our means and the future is very bleak for NJ. The potential government shutdown will provide some good theatre and that is about all. I am terrified at the thought of our government shutting down. What will we do?

Dimitri June 18, 2018 4:02 pm

You just can't make this stuff up. "If you don't let me tax you more, I will shut down the government."