In his FY2021 budget address today, Governor Phil Murphy again as expected will make his case to the Legislature for their support for a millionaire’s tax, which they have already twice denied him. This time he may have some support, at least in one of the two houses of the legislature, and where it may be least expected.
“Asking the wealthiest 22,000 New Jerseyans to pay two cents more, in income tax, for every dollar they make over $1 million, so we can provide nearly $500 million more in property tax relief to New Jersey’s families is simple fairness,” are the words in Murphy’s budget speech, as prepared for delivery.
“The millionaire’s tax won’t make us less competitive,” reads the text. “It will allow us to continue fighting against high property taxes and allow us to become even more competitive.”
“We can keep this progress going, but only with recurring and sustainable revenues,” is the Governor’s argument. “And there is no better alternative than a millionaire’s tax. It’s the way we both ensure tax fairness for our middle-class and fairness to the dedicated rank-and-file women and men of our public workforce. After all, the millionaire’s tax is a matter of fairness to our middle-class homeowners and renters, our seniors, and the countless working families reaching to pull themselves up and into the middle class.”
Indicating a rough-hewn helping hand that didn’t exist in the two years past, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) said he would consider a millionaire’s tax in exchange for a pension system boost. Murphy in his remarks reciprocates on precisely that front. In his remarks, Murphy notes that he and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) agree, “we need to do all we can to ensure the stability of our pension system. So, in addition to a $794 million increase for Fiscal 2021, our administration will make an extra $279 million payment into the pension system this current fiscal year.
“This is a roughly $1.1 billion increase in our overall pension payment. This administration will have put more back into the system in just three years than the preceding one did in eight.”
It may be harder this time to bring Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) to the millionaire’s tax dance.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Indeed, the speaker offered no applause when Murphy spoke about the millionaire’s tax in his speech. Then again, neither did Sweeney. The chamber too was morose in response, even as the gallery went nuts with the cheer of Murphy allies.