BUDGET DRAMA: Gov. Murphy threatens veto, another shutdown?


As GreaterLakewood previously reported, the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a $38.7 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2020. The budget removed parts of Governor Murphy’s agenda, specifically the “millionaires tax.”

Earlier this month, Governor Murphy unveiled details of his proposal to deliver $250 million in much-needed, additional property tax relief directly to more than two million New Jersey tax filers.

“The math is pretty simple, as is the logic,” said Governor Murphy. “This is about tax fairness. It’s about answering a simple question: ‘Whose side are you on?’ We stand with New Jersey’s hard-working middle-class, and those striving to join them. The budget we proposed is built on principles of strong fiscal stewardship and investing in core needs and middle-class property tax relief. The millionaire’s tax is how we ensure these principles for the long-term.”

The additional relief is contingent on passage of legislation increasing the tax rate on those earning more than $1 million per year, which would affect approximately 18,000 in-state residents and 19,000 non-state residents – the Millionaire tax’. Without this tax increase passing, the tax relief portion would fail.

The Governor’s relief proposal would deliver $250 million in additional tax relief in the form of a one-time, $125 refundable tax credit on 2019 Gross Income Tax (GIT) returns.  

The State legislature, headed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney,
passed their own budget – minus a few things. Most notably, missing was the millionaire tax which by default removed the property tax relief Murphy had proposed. “Pension, healthcare, everything we can gather to reduce the burden to the taxpayers of the state, should be in this budget. It really should be,” Sweeney said.

The state Assembly voted 53-24 Thursday without any GOP support.

The State Senate passed the budget 31-6, with several Republicans voting with the Democrats. Most notable was Senator Singer – who represents Lakewood – who voted yes. GreaterLakewood reached out for comment but Singer’s office declined to comment.

Originally, analysts expected Murphy to veto line items before signing the budget into law. Now, however, there is a ‘fair’ chance Murphy will veto the whole budget – increasing the chances for a gov’t shutdown.

The deadline is 12am on Sunday.

How it affects Lakewood

As reported on GL, in March Lakewood was set to receive roughly $30 Million in state aid. $15 Million was allocation from the state’s school funding to help cover transportation and special education costs – this funded the LSTA for another year.

On top of that was an additional $15 million for provisional stabilization aid. At the time, the Board of Education attorney Michael I. Inzelbuch said, “we thank the state for recognizing the uniqueness of Lakewood.”

After this new budget passed, ‘cutting Lakewood’s $30 Million out,’ Inzelbuch filed a motion to stop the vote – to no avail.

Initially, sources told GL, Singer voted for the budget since efforts to secure a State loan were successful, but nothing appears certain at this point.

“Our current tax incentives system is inefficient and misguided. The Legislature passed a short-sighted bill to extend these programs without any reforms, which I will veto.”



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