State Senate Democrats unveil their proposed budget, sans millionaires’ tax

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The New Jersey Senate Democrats have unveiled their proposed state budget – one that is lacking a number of Gov. Phil Murphy’s top priorities.

The governor’s proposed budget included a tax on income over $1 million, along with other tax increases – increases Senate President Steve Sweeney has opposed.

“The state needs to be fixed before you have any conversation about raising taxes,” says Sweeney. “And the governor's refusal to address some of the biggest problems that exist here is just not acceptable.”

Lawmakers say that their proposed budget does not have any new taxes and no broad-based taxes have been raised. This includes Murphy’s millionaires’ tax.

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The Senate Democrat’s budget includes $50 million for NJ Transit - $25 million more than the governor requested. It also includes more funding for pre-K programs, which the governor supports.

The Senate budget proposal also eliminates fee increases on gun licenses and permits that Gov. Murphy proposed.

“All in all, our budget’s not that far off the budget he presented, and that's how it works. The administration presents a budget and the Legislature works to craft a budget to put on his desk,” Sweeney says.

Budget Committee chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo says that several Republican lawmakers told him that the Senate budget was an improvement over Murphy’s proposal.

“I do applaud the efforts of the Senate president, [Assembly] Speaker [Craig] Coughlin and yourself to eliminate the ridiculous and unnecessary tax increases the governor was calling for,” Republican state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon told Sarlo.

Murphy was not a fan of the Senate's proposed budget, saying, "It leaves us without the stable and sustainable revenues to secure the investments we seek to make in our people and our state. It makes unnecessary cuts to valuable programs while increasing spending on non-vital ones and eliminates our first deposit in a decade into the state's empty Rainy Day Fund."

A budget vote is expected on Thursday. The governor will have to approve a budget before midnight on June 30 or a government shutdown will occur.


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