Murphy Objects to Legislative Leadership’s Revenue Projections

TRENTON – With a week left to defuse the bills-instead-of-bombs New Jersey version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Governor Phil Murphy burnished the backing of numerous public sector union, faith leaders, and anti-gun groups as he tries to stare down the Statehouse tag team of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19).

But Murphy, flanked by LG Sheila Oliver and Treasurer Liz Muoio in a crowd packed out by Analilia Mejia of Working Families, Hetty Rosenstein of CWA, SEIU 32BJ and the League of Conservation Voters reps among others, had more than his same-party adversaries to contend with, even as Republicans cackled on the sidelines about Dems’ overall dysfunction.

All morning long, a tug of war raged within the Governor’s Office over whether he should line-item the Democratic legislature’s budget and wound-lick his way to a mild solution with the argument that the public doesn’t care about inside baseball; or stand up to the South Jersey-controlled legislative leadership in his own party and veto their budget outright to force a shutdown.

The Governor was expected to offer no specific Shermanesque statement about his veto plans today (there are no veto plans today) as he prepares for another late afternoon under-the-hood meeting with Sweeney, but his presser – multiple left-leaning backers occupying a platform with him – provided a Vinny-Prieto-in-the-Statehouse-Annex throwback visual as he plans to make the claim that the Legislature wants him to sign a budget that will realize $855 million less revenue than projected.

Coughlin earlier this afternoon scoffed at that assertion, arguing that the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) likes the legislature’s budget numbers.

“This budget marks a return to Chris Christie’s New Jersey,” Murphy said in his press conference as an insider cracked, “He has no legislators behind him.”

“Only treasury has access to the tax rolls and tax realities,” the Governor shot back, noting that he preferred not getting into a bashing of OLS, “but those are the facts.”

Pushing back against those insiders who mutter that he and his administration don’t communicate sufficiently with the legislature, the Governor said, “We talk to lawmakers all the time. I’ve spoken to legislators regularly in the five and a half months I’ve been here.

“I remain optimistic that we’re going to figure this out, but we need real sustainable revenues,” Murphy added.

From the beginning, the Governor objected to legislative leadership’s efforts to raise the corporate business tax to a level that would make New Jersey’s CBT the highest in the country. Today, he expressed his willingness to examine some kid of scaled down CBT option, in addition to reexaminations of the millionaire’s and sales taxes.

The following if the Governor’s Office Official Release on where the Administration Stands RIGHT NOW:

Governor Murphy: Analysis by Treasury Shows the Legislature’s Budget Is Nearly $1 Billion Short 
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced that after a thorough review of the Legislature’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, the Treasury Department found the plan to be nearly $1 billion short. Overall, the Legislature’s budget will be $855 million short of achieving the administration’s target ending fund balance.
“Our team has spent considerable time since last Thursday going line-by-line through the Legislature’s budget. They reevaluated every proposed source of revenue, savings and spending items the Legislature included. And, time after time, they came to the same result: The Legislature’s budget would close the upcoming fiscal year almost a billion dollars short of achieving this administration’s target ending fund balance, $855 million to be precise,” said Governor Murphy. “The legislature’s budget would end with a $104 million deficit and absolutely no dollars in surplus, zeroing out our proposed $751 million surplus. I know I’ve taken some heat for comparing the Legislature’s budget to a Christie budget, but even Governor Christie never signed a budget with a surplus under $300 million, and most were far higher.”
The Legislature’s budget continues to rely on short-term revenues rather than sustainable resources to solve New Jersey’s long-term problems. In addition, its budget, which is nearly $1 billion short, cannot cover the costs of these investments, as well as the investments the administration is committed to make – in schools, in mass transit, in property tax relief and in core programs the people of New Jersey depend upon.
“We must have a budget built on sustainable, reliable, and real revenues. No short-term gimmicks, no games, no phantom savings from audits we haven’t even done yet,” Governor Murphy continued. “I remain committed to tax fairness, to closing corporate loopholes, and to resetting the sales tax absent any other workable and sustainable solutions.”
Governor Murphy’s budget would close with a $751 million surplus.
“We have time to close a nearly $1 billion gap, but only if we are willing to put politics and the old way of doing business aside and work together to change the way we finance our state’s future,” the Governor concluded



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