The Murphy administration’s proposal to tax opioid makers is immoral, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, D-21st District, suggested during a May 14 budget hearing.
The governor’s fiscal 2020 budget includes a projected $21.5 million in revenue from taxes that would be imposed on pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids. The plan has yet to be introduced as legislation.
“We’ve never seen a tax that has not been passed down to the consumer. So this will be a tax on what is a legal drug,” Munoz said in a statement. “I can’t come to terms with how that is morally OK to increase a tax on a legal drug.”
In addition to this proposed tax, the state taxes medical marijuana, which is also legal.
“There is no connection between increasing the price of legal opioids, which are used for legitimate pain patients, and decreasing the opioid crisis,” Munoz said . “We are going to drive up the costs of the opioids, which is what has contributed to the epidemic anyway because they’re addictive and then they’re expensive and then people turn to heroin.”
Munoz’s office said that there are no details on how the opioid tax would work because the legislation hasn’t been drafted. New York tried to enact a similar law, but courts struck it down because of a clause that prohibited the levy from being passed on to consumers.
“We don’t want to do more to hurt the legitimate pain patients in the state of New Jersey with the promise of making the opioid crisis better because they just don’t go hand in hand,” said Munoz.