Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s Budget Message today:
“Democrats are going full speed ahead with a massive $2.7 billion spending hike, an increase of nearly 8 percent. It’s irresponsible and it represents a bad value for taxpayers.
Statement from Sen. Tom Kean on Governor Murphy’s proposal to increase the state budget by $2.7 billion and increase taxes on individuals and businesses. (Pixabay)
“Proposing to increase income taxes by nearly $800 million will only drive more employers from the state. Further, the Governor says raising taxes on businesses by $110 million will increase ‘the attractiveness of New Jersey as a location for investment and employment.’ He must be kidding to suggest that will help us to lure major employers like Amazon to New Jersey.
“While Democrats want to say they are only increasing taxes on millionaires and corporations, the Governor’s proposed $546 million sales tax increase would hurt all New Jerseyans. It’s beyond callous to say that New Jerseyans will not feel the impact of this change.
“The proposed sales tax increase would renege on a bipartisan tax reform agreement. It also breaks the law by violating a poison pill provision of the tax reform legislation enacted in 2016. It’s up to the Senate President to show that deals made with his caucus will be honored.
“Governor Murphy also wants to tax our burgeoning niche sharing economy, with new taxes on ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, and taxes on home rental services like Airbnb. These services are extremely popular with young adults who will pay a disproportionate share of this new tax.
“He shouldn’t count on revenues from marijuana legalization. It’s not clear that there is support among Republicans or Democrats to legalize it.
“On school funding, both Republicans and Democrats participated in a Select Senate Committee on School Funding Fairness last year with the understanding that the current formula, SFRA, is not fair and is prone to abuse.
“Unfortunately, none of the abuses that skew aid distributions were fixed, including the excessive use of PILOT agreements and free and reduced price school lunch program fraud.
“Funneling more money into a broken formula only perpetuates these abuses and gives districts that game the system even more money at the expense of other districts and towns that play by the rules.
“We’re extremely disappointed that there’s no focus on spending restraint in Governor Murphy’s budget proposal. He continues to ignore the reinstatement of interest arbitration caps that saved property taxpayers hundreds of millions before Democrats let them expire at the end of 2017.
“It seems that many legislators in both parties are skeptical of this budget proposal. We look forward to vetting the full details in the coming months.”
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