It is officially budget week here in the Garden State, as Gov. Phil Murphy will deliver his Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Address from the State House in Trenton at 2 p.m. Feb. 28.
The speech comes on the heels of Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State Address in January – where he touted the “Next New Jersey” – in addition to amid a myriad of economic headwinds and the new normal that has emerged from the pandemic.
“Building the Next New Jersey means creating an economic future that uplifts each of us and works for all of us,” said Murphy in a statement. “My proposed budget will help New Jerseyans secure their place in our future by expanding opportunity now.”
The Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, signed into law last June, was a record $50.6 billion spending plan that included a massive surplus, more than $4 billion in a debt and defeasance fund, a full pension payment, and $2 billion in ANCHOR property tax relief. The application deadline for that program falls, ironically, on Tuesday as well.
Heading into this budget season, some issues on the minds of the business community include the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund and whether the corporate business tax (CBT) surcharge will indeed sunset at the end of the 2023 as the governor has signaled, two stories NJBIZ has extensively covered. The business community has also pointed out that ANCHOR does not benefit small business owners, despite the oversized property tax burden they bear.
Meanwhile, ahead of the speech, members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee called for a budget proposal that restrains spending and prepares New Jersey for a possible recession, provides tax relief to families and businesses, represents fairness in how appropriations are determined and protects school districts and property taxpayers from harmful cuts in state aid.
“The nearly 50% increase in state spending over the five years of the Murphy Administration is completely unsustainable,” said Senate Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-13th District. “That will become painfully true if we are hit by a recession this year as many economists have warned is possible. We can prepare New Jersey to weather an upcoming storm by putting existing pandemic relief and debt defeasance funds to work smartly, cutting the pork, and focusing on tax reforms that will help grow the economy.”
“New Jerseyans are the most highly taxed people in the country and it’s hurting our families and businesses,” said Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, R-24th District. “Reforms that make us competitive will help our economy grow. With billions in tax over-collections likely this year, we can stop the automatic tax and toll increases that the Murphy Administration has supported and provide real inflation relief by indexing our tax brackets like dozens of other states. We can also give it directly back to New Jerseyans.”
Senate Democrats say they look forward to the governor’s budget proposal, priorities and goals ahead for New Jerseyans.
“After the speech, the Legislature will have the important responsibility of thoroughly reviewing his fiscal plan and putting a budget together that addresses the needs of the people of New Jersey,” Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, told NJBIZ in a statement. “The governor and the Legislature have worked together to successfully manage state finances during challenging times. We will continue to act responsibly with a budget that holds down taxes, provides tax relief and invests in economic opportunities.”
“From growing and strengthening the middle class to improving affordability for hardworking families, we will continue to make our state the home of the American Dream,” said Murphy.
The speech will be livestreamed on the governor’s official YouTube channel here.
Stay with NJBIZ throughout the week for complete budget coverage, including analysis and reaction.r