POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Key takeaways from governor’s FY2021 budget address

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Michael Hill, Colleen O'Dea, David Cruz |

The governor unveiled his plan for spending your tax dollars. His budget blueprint is a $40.9 billion behemoth that would hike taxes on millionaires, smokers, gun owners and companies that don’t provide health insurance for workers. Those taxes would help generate more money for NJ Transit, schools, college scholarships, the woefully underfunded public worker pension system and a whole lot more.

The FY2021 budget is Murphy’s third attempt to include a millionaire’s tax for those making $1 million or more, and there’s uncertainty if this year there will be any difference in getting it passed with legislative leaders. This week, Senate President Steve Sweeney stated he would be open to negotiating with the governor if there was an additional $1 billion contribution to New Jersey’s severely underfunded pension system.

Murphy plans to increase funding to NJ Transit by $132 million, for a record total of nearly $600 million. He says the money will be used to ” … train an additional 98 new locomotive engineers, fund service enhancements at both Newark and New York Penn Stations, and start a new electric bus program among much more.”

The most underfunded pension system in the nation, Murphy plans to contribute nearly $4.6 billion into the pension system.

Murphy included $336 million for school funding, saying it will help relieve property taxes by removing the burden from taxpayers and putting it on the state.

Murphy says by lowering health care costs, his administration can continue to work to lower property taxes. By reducing the budgeted amounts for state paid health care benefits, Murphy says his administration can save the state $174 million.