For Immediate Release
Increased Taxes, Added Spending in 2020 State Budget Will Continue to Make New Jersey Unaffordable
By Rosemary Becchi, J.D., L.L.M.
Millburn, NJ – The struggle to make New Jersey more affordable for homeowners, families and small business owners suffered another major setback today, as Governor Phil Murphy proposed a new State Budget with record-setting spending and new taxes despite the fact the state is short on revenues to cover last year’s record-setting spending plan.
“With one hand, Governor Murphy condescendingly patted the heads of New Jersey families and taxpayers with more promises of a fairer economy. With his other hand, he dove deeper into our pockets with more taxes to support more spending that digs us deeper into a financial hole. There’s nothing fair here. New Jersey is being made more unaffordable for families and small businesses with Governor Murphy’s 2020 State Budget plan,” said Rosemary Becchi, president of Jersey First.
Governor Murphy, who introduced the largest spending proposal in state history last year with a $37.4 billion budget, broke his own record today by proposing a $38.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020 despite the fact New Jersey is already behind on funds needed to pay for the budget he signed last year. Although he raised taxes in 2018 by nearly $1.5 billion on New Jersey families and businesses to support his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, Governor Murphy has come up short by nearly $5 billion in revenue collections and has been left hoping he can scrape together more money by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, according to data released by the state treasury and Legislature.
“Every household in New Jersey knows that when the family is faced with mounting debt and less income, we cut spending and develop a plan by which to live within our family means. Not Governor Murphy. He increases spending, talks about a rosier future and then makes another big grab for other people’s money,” Becchi said.
The Governor proposed covering his new spending plan, in part, through an increase in taxes on people making more than $1 million, which goes to the heart of New Jersey’s small businesses and hampers the state economy by building yet another deterrent to employers relocating to New Jersey and creating jobs.
The Governor’s insistence on continued spending increases and tax hikes also fails to fully address the state’s $151.6 billion obligation to the pension fund for public workers and benefits paid to retired workers, an obligation that grows annually and threatens the financial future of homeowners and businesses in the state.
“Governor Murphy is clearly tone-deaf to the concerns and needs of New Jersey families. While he has boldly given his spending plan a social media moniker of #MiddleClassBlueprint, it is clear to everyone who pays taxes and does business in this state that this is a #BlueprintForNJDisaster,” Becchi said.
Jersey First President Rosemary Becchi is a leading tax policy lawyer and consultant who was formerly counsel to the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Becchi helped author the 529 College Savings Plan. She is currently a Strategic Advisor and Counsel at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where she specializes in tax and financial services matters.
Jersey First President Rosemary Becchi (right) joined Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Morris) on the floor of the General Assembly at the New Jersey State House in Trenton to witness Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget speech for Fiscal Year 2020.