The state’s pandemic-delayed budget is expected to be adopted on Thursday and the governor is feeling pretty good about it.
“I’m proud of the budget,” Phil Murphy said today.
He said the budget emphasizes “tax fairness.”
For the governor, however, the fairness he envisions doesn’t go as far as he originally wanted.
His plan for “baby bonds” for those being born into low and many middle-income families is not in the budget.
On that, Murphy was philosophical, saying that when it comes to baby bonds, it’s “not if, but when.”
The big political win for the governor was with the so-called millionaire’s tax. For the last two years, Murphy wanted to raise income taxes on those earning more than $1 million a year from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent. Making the very rich pay more is a big part of Murphy’s “tax fairness” plan.
In 2018, the Democratic legislature compromised with Murphy and applied the higher tax to those making $5 million a year or more.
But this year, the budget lowers that threshold to $1 million.
The Legislature is balancing this out through a plan to give tax breaks to low and middle class families.
Since this was officially a COVID-19 briefing, Murphy also raised a problem apparently occurring at gyms and health clubs. He said he’s heard anecdotal evidence that some are entering a gym wearing a mask, but then taking it off immediately.
That is a no-no.
“Don’t let anybody do that,” the governor said in a message aimed at gym and health club operators.
State rules require patrons to keep masks on while inside a gym.
Those who don’t comply should be thrown out, Murphy said. The governor said some may think wearing a mask has to do with politics.
“It ain’t about politics, folks,” said an animated Murphy. “This is about science. It’s about data. It’s about public health.”