Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday reiterated a vow to introduce a millionaires' tax and to raise the sales tax.
Murphy, speaking at a press conference staged at the headquarters for the state Department of Education, laid out various school funding proposals and said they require the tax-based funding he’s seeking.
“Our public schools and the children who attend them require sustainable, long-term funding to get the education they truly deserve,” Murphy said.
The governor has decried “one-shot” and “two-shot funding gimmicks,” such as a tax forgiveness program projected to procure a one-time $150 million injection into the state budget.
On Tuesday, Murphy held a similar press conference at the New Jersey Transit station in Trenton, where he argued that his plans to overhaul the statewide transit agency wouldn’t be possible under the Legislature’s funding plan.
On Wednesday, Murphy said he isn’t opposed to a Legislature-backed school funding plan, which calls for moving money away from “overfunded” school districts and transferring those funds towards “underfunded” school districts.
The proposal, backed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, calls for transferring money away from districts that have more than 100 percent of the state aid they’re legally required to receive, and transferring that to the districts with less than 58 percent of that amount, until they’re at 58 percent. Democratic lawmakers are proposing $64.5 million in school funding, in addition to the $283 million Murphy is seeking.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, proving we can work together with Legislative leadership on the half of the loaf,” Murphy said on the school funding. “You need a lot of progress, you need a whole loaf.”
Richard McGrath, a spokesperson for Sweeney, said he was disappointed by the governor’s Wednesday remarks.
“It is disappointing that the governor has decided to use the school children of New Jersey as a bargaining chip because he’s not getting all the tax increases he wants,” McGrath said.
And, McGrath said, Murphy was putting progress over the school funding debate onto the chopping block “as a negotiating ploy.”
Murphy also has decried measures such as the proposed 13 percent corporate business tax as a “two-shot revenue,” arguing that it wouldn’t be sustainable because the tax sunsets after two years, and because it would make New Jersey less competitive.
But CBT revenue, according to Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, would come primarily from “multinational corporations headquartered out of state and by foreign and out-of-state investors.”
Meantime, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce issued a statement Wednesday arguing against both CBT and the millionaire's tax.
“Despite our objections and the evidence we presented to support our case, it is clear the state Legislature must find new sources of revenue for the 2019 budget,” Chamber President Tom Bracken said. “Unfortunately, that means either a CBT increase or a 'millionaire's tax' will be the funding source.”