Legislators, Leaders Respond To Governor’s FY2021 Budget Address

Post will be updated as new responses are released.

Responding to Governor Murphy’s FY2021 budget address, legislators and leaders offered their assessment of the Governor’s proposal:

Senate President Sweeney says the Governor’s proposed cigarette tax hike is a ‘big problem’, according to NJ.com, saying ‘listen: I said I was open to the millionaires tax if there’s a billion dollars in new funding for the pension,’ the Senate president said. ‘I don’t really think we need the other taxes. Period.’

Speaker Coughlin called the proposal a ‘encouraging first step‘ and that ‘the Assembly, I’m certain, will have additional ideas and priorities to discuss during the review process. We will continue to look for more government inefficiencies and cost savings, as we do each year. I remain cautious of increasing broad-based taxes’.  A day before the address, Coughlin had first stated that ‘I remain cautious of increasing any broad-based taxes on an already overburdened state’.

Senate Budget Chairman Sarlo said the committee will work through the proposal and give it a ‘deep dive‘ and ‘structural review’.

Senator Rice said he agreed with many of the priorities outlined in the address, but that he won’t vote for any budget until marijuana decriminalization legislation is passed.

Senator Cryan praised the health savings proposal, saying ‘at a time when health care costs continue to climb throughout the country, this is a cost-saving measure in New Jersey that will reduce premiums for employees and hold down costs for public employers.’

Senator Ruiz said ‘today’s address was a tremendous start to the budget process in New Jersey’ while praising the education funding in the proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Kean blasted the budget proposal, calling it a ‘continuation of disastrous fiscal policies that are breaking up too many of our families. This proposal doesn’t move the needle on giving people a reason to stay in New Jersey.’

Senator Testa ripped into the proposal, saying it continues a trend of ‘ripping off South Jersey’.

Senator Pennacchio called the proposal a ‘failure‘ that does nothing to make the state more affordable, adding the Governor ‘doesn’t get it.  He ain’t New Jersey’.

Senator Bucco called it a ‘missed opportunity‘ that boosts government costs to ‘historic new levels’.

Senator Oroho said the budget proposal, the largest in history, demonstrates the need for structural reforms, otherwise the ‘burden on taxpayers will just keep growing and the out-migration from New Jersey will continue.’

Assembly Budget Chair Pintor Marin called the proposal a ‘clear starting point‘ and said the committee ‘more closely examine the details of his proposal, and work together to ensure that the needs of the state are met.’

Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald said ‘it’s time to pour over the details, pull it apart and put it back together again. As always, this will require our collaboration as equal branches of government’.

Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick went off on the proposal in the GOP’s press conference following the address, first wishing the Governor well as he faces a kidney tumor, while calling the speech ‘a lot of cheerleading but did not address the taxpayer issues of this state’.  Bramnick said he would ‘bet dinner’ that Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin won’t move a millionaire’s tax.

Assemblywoman DeCroce said ‘I cannot find one thing in his remarks that will lift the tax burden on middle class’.

NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt panned the address, saying the state has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

The NJ Chamber of Commerce panned the proposal, saying ‘unfortunately the speech was short on how to make the economy stronger for the businesses that are being heavily relied on to fund the fairer economy’ and ‘did contain much the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce can support’.

The NJBIA said they appreciated the Governor’s efforts but that ‘unfortunately, this proposed budget continues along the well-worn path of more taxation and spending without truly addressing the structural issues that leave New Jersey with an ever-increasing mountain of debt.’

The NJ Society of CPAs said the state is ‘facing a fiscal crisis and we are not committing ourselves to the difficult decisions that will put the state on sound financial footing.’

The AFL-CIO NJ thanked Murphy for several components of the proposal on healthcare, water infrastructure, and Portal Bridge funding.

NFIB said ahead of the address that the Governor’s proposal likely would be a ‘no starter‘ for small businesses.

The Sierra Club decried the flatlining of environmental funding.

The NJEA applauded the funding for public schools, saying the budget proposal  ‘charts a path to a stronger, fairer New Jersey’.

The ACLU-NJ applauded the civil rights measures in the proposal, while calling for greater funding for immigrant deportation defense.

NJ Citizen Action hailed the budget proposal, saying it ‘marks another important step forward in addressing many of New Jersey’s pressing needs while continuing the process of repairing our state’s fiscal health’.

Make The Road NJ lauded the $3.1M investment in legal defense for immigrants.

The CIANJ applauded parts of the proposal while expressing concern about the millionaire’s tax component.

The Garden State Initiative ripped the proposal, saying ‘for the 3rd straight year Governor Murphy presented a budget that raises taxes and increases spending even more. With all of the promises of relief, why aren’t property tax payers seeing tax reductions?’

New Jersey Future reacted the infrastructure investments in the proposal, calling them ‘crucial’.

The coalition ‘For The Many’ said the proposal ‘makes critical investments in programs‘ that working families rely on.

A coalition of patient and healthcare groups called on the Legislature to reject raising significant fees on pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesale distributors.

1199SEIU called the proposal a ‘bold vision of fiscal and economic responsibility rooted in the idea that New Jersey’s working people are the backbone of our state—not multi-millionaires and large corporations.’

The Chemistry Council of NJ released a statement saying they ‘hope that this year’s budget priorities and polices will show companies that New Jersey is committed to growing its celebrated manufacturing economy.’

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