Calls for a Better and More Affordable Future for Our Families and Seniors
Senator Anthony M. Bucco delivered the following statement on the Senate floor prior to today’s vote on the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget:
Senator Bucco dissected the FY 2021 budget in a floor speech prior to voting no on the spending plan full of new taxes and costly borrowing. (SenateNJ.com)
Like most people running for elected office, Governor Murphy ran on a platform promising to raise your taxes…and boy has he delivered.
It seems every budget season we hear it’s just one or two or three more tax increases…that’s all we need to fix the problems of our State. So far during Governor Murphy’s tenure we have seen tax and fee increases on:
- personal income
- business income
- employer payroll
- employee payroll
- Uber and ride sharing
- health care plans
- nursing homes
- certain business transactions
Now we are seeing more tax increases supporting this budget either directly or indirectly:
- Directly we have:
- Taxes on businesses
- Taxes on health care
- Taxes on income
Other tax increases that support this budget more indirectly include
- A 500% payroll tax increase that started January 1
- A 30% toll increase in September
- And a 25% gas tax increase on October 1
And while it is not discussed here, there is a projected $900 million increase in employer payroll taxes to rebuild our UI Fund.
And on top of all these new taxes, we have $4.5 billion of additional debt to pay for operating costs and $5 billion of federal funding to address COVID 19. The rich irony is that there is $350 million in spending in this budget to pay down these bonds. For the life of me, I don’t know why we borrowed an extra $350 million so we could give it back.
You would think with all this new money, there wouldn’t be a need for foolish spending cuts?
Yet, there are about one hundred school districts whose aid is being cut. In one district, 240 people were just laid off. But I thought school aid was flat this year? Apparently not for some unfortunate districts.
Astoundingly, even with all this money, the budget today reduces the Governor’s proposed pension payment by more than $100 million.
With all the rhetoric, you would think one thing that everyone is getting is a $500 tax rebate. But the truth is there is NO money at all in this budget for the rebate. All we have is a promise that the check will be coming next year just before reelection. To make matters worse, if you read the fine print, most seniors without children, the poorest of the poor who receive a refundable earned income tax credit, and those who have lost their jobs or businesses and their income this year, won’t even be eligible for the rebate. That’s sad.
And what about all that talk about how hard it was going to be to balance this budget? It couldn’t have been that hard…you found Christmas tree money to make municipal renovations at one town facility;
There’s millions for a golf course subsidy for one favored golf course;
There’s millions for one favored local park;
There’s $15 million for some demolition in Camden to the exclusion of every other community in New Jersey that has their own demolition needs; and
Finally, we have what is being called a record surplus, when truth be told, it’s just part of the 4.5 billion dollars of borrowed money that we will be paying back with interest for at least the next 10 years.
But where are the long-term fixes to things like health care costs that are out of control?
Where are reforms to some of the pension abuses that exist for the well-connected?
Why are we increasing one-shots that destabilize our budget?
Where are the efforts to stop New York from overtaxing New Jersey residents and keeping money that belongs to us?
Just like years gone by, you took the easy way out!!!
No hard choices — just more taxes, debt, and spending, making NJ one of the most expensive states in the country to live. This budget does nothing to stop families from being broken apart as grandparents are forced to leave, and children don’t return after college.
That’s not the New Jersey I want. I want a better and more affordable future for our families and seniors and this budget just doesn’t get us there.
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