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Legislature sends Murphy budget he hates

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On Thursday afternoon, June 21, Gov. Phil Murphy said budget talks broke down with the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
On Thursday afternoon, June 21, Gov. Phil Murphy said budget talks broke down with the Democrat-controlled Legislature. - ()

The state Legislature has sent Gov. Phil Murphy a $36.5 billion budget the first-term Democrat has vowed to veto in a dispute over which new taxes to include in the plan.

Lawmakers face a June 30 deadline to enact a fiscal 2019 state budget and avoid the prospect of a government shutdown.

Both the Senate and the Assembly are controlled by the Democrats. The Senate voted 21-17 Thursday evening to approve the budget; the Assembly’s 46-28 approval hours later sent it to the governor’s desk.

The voting followed a day filled with unsuccessful talks to hammer out a compromise budget package.

The budget bill approved by the Senate and Assembly would bump the corporate business tax rate up to 13 percent, the highest in the nation. Murphy is opposed to that and also has said he won't approve any budget lacking a millionaires' tax and an increase of the sales tax up to 7 percent from 6.6 percent – both missing from the Legislature’s budget plan.

From left, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, both Democrats, address the press after late night voting sessions on June 21.
From left, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, both Democrats, address the press after late night voting sessions on June 21.

"The Legislature seems intent on keeping the legacy of Chris Christie alive and with a budget to match," Murphy said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. "I will not put forward gimmicks and games that I know are ticking time bombs and call it a day.

He took repeated jabs at Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, and said they were working with "alt. facts" in terms of their budget numbers.

After the vote, Sweeney made remarks critical of the governor.

"Anything and everything they could threaten they did -- 'You'll never get any legislation done, your appointments are dead,'" the Senate president said. "That reminds me of someone else, and [Murphy] likes to cite him on a regular basis. ... Many of my members were threatened by this administration, involving appointments, involving projects, involving funding, so again, it reminds me of someone in the past."

From left, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblyman Tony Bucco, R-25th District, leave the Governor’s office on Thursday afternoon following failed budget talks.
From left, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblyman Tony Bucco, R-25th District, leave the Governor’s office on Thursday afternoon following failed budget talks.

As for the day’s negotiations involving Sweeney, Coughlin and Murphy, the governor said "there was a very disappointing rejection on their part of facts."

Murphy denied reports that he was considering a two phase-in of the sales tax up to 7 percent, and increasing the threshold of the millionaire's tax to residents earning above $5 million.

He also rejected rosy projections that upward of $300 million in new state revenue will result from Thursday's 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision to enable states to impose a sales tax on online retailers without a physical presence in a state.

For more 2019 NJ budget:

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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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buster June 25, 2018 11:42 am

isn't it time for govt. to begin cutting expenses and become smaller everywhere. consumers pay all taxes no matter who they are levied against. Tax and spend is the only mentality for both parties (they just advertise it differently). Kick 'em all out.

George Cronk June 22, 2018 9:56 am

What a bust these guys are - all of them. (I'm not GOP.)

douglas roth June 22, 2018 11:52 am

The new governor reminds me of Florio! All they know is raising taxes as soon as elected! What about cutting spending! Something politicians know little about. As a partner in an investment firm for over 30 years, just about all my wealthy clients have fled the state to Florida. I will soon follow. When I was young, NJ had a AAA bond rating with no sales tax, no income tax, no lottery, no AC. Now our bond rating is in the toilet, roads and bridges and traffic unbearable. Litter strewn on the highways. No longer the Garden State but the Garbage state. Shameful what has happened in our state.

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