Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco presented options to eliminate approximately $1.7 billion in tax and fee increases proposed for the FY15 state budget.
“Senate Republicans believe that budget negotiations should steer sharply away from dozens of tax and fee increases,” said Kean (R-Union). “We support 99 percent of the Governor’s proposed budget, but believe that there is a better way to finish the document than raising so many costs on New Jerseyans and job creators.
“We are not surprised and we will absolutely not support the Senate Democrats’ proposals to raise $1.6 billion in taxes on those who pay the most to fund critical public services, which would drastically decrease state revenues and put middle-class public pensioners out of work,” Kean said.
“New Jersey families know too well the negative impacts of raising taxes and fees, which we simply cannot support,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “Our caucus will continue to do everything possible, especially when it comes to the budget, to keep the focus in Trenton on making New Jersey an affordable place to live, grow, work and retire.”
Two weeks ago, Senator Kean alerted the Gov. Christie administration and Senate Democratic leaders to Senate Republican FY15 budget alternatives to eliminate and cover the cost of cutting $137 million in tax and fee hikes in the proposed budget, by:
- Eliminating all 23 proposed fee increases;
- Eliminating the proposed UEZ tax increase, because of the negative impact they would have on urban small businesses and the workforce; and
- Eliminating the proposed tax on electronic cigarettes, to avoid stymieing an emerging industry and the jobs and other revenues that it could generate for New Jerseyans.
“We can cover the elimination of these tax and fee increases by making the tough choices to reduce increases and reprioritize spending in the proposed budget,” Kean said.
- Reduce by $25 million the proposed increase to UniversityHospital;
- Reduce by $2 million the proposed increase for new EssexCounty crime prevention initiative;
- Reduce by $2 million the proposed increase for EssexCounty jail substance abuse program;
- Shift $6.4 million from clean energy fund to the general fund;
- Reduce by $82 million the $125 million proposed increase to the Department of Human Services by delaying for one year the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to managed care delivery for Medicaid institutional long-term services;
- Reduce by $11.1 million the proposed increase to the Department of Education for administrators to implement new state assessments, because Senate Republicans are confident that the DOE has already laid the groundwork and has the capability to implement a successful new state assessment system; and
- Reduce consolidation implementation funds by $8.5 million; Senate Republicans support local consolidations and shared services that should still be done by local government entities for the benefit of property taxpayers.