As part of a $37.4 billion budget plan, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is proposing a series of tax hikes to increase spending and to address problems in the state.
"We cannot afford to remain stuck, uncompetitive, and unfair. This is the time for us to make our state stronger while we forge ahead with long-term solutions and investments that ensure fairness," Murphy said.
The governor wants to institute a millionaire's tax and close the carried interest loophole. Murphy also wants to increase the state sales tax back to 7 percent, after it was reduced as part of a deal to increase the gas tax.
"Let’s be honest, the impact of the three-eighths of one percent sales tax decrease has been nearly imperceptible to the average family, but has directly impacted our ability to provide better services to, and greater future investment in, that family," Murphy said.
He blamed former Governor Chris Christie for slashing funding to NJ Transit by 90 percent. Murphy said that forced the agency to pull the plug on long-term capital projects, while commuters are stuck waiting for trains and buses that never arrive.
"This budget will nearly triple funding to NJ Transit – an additional $242 million investment to get the agency back on its feet. Like so many of our challenges, fixing New Jersey Transit will not happen overnight, but we are sending a strong signal to our commuters that a better day, and better service, is coming," Murphy said.
The budget plan also expands pre-K in the state and will make community college tuition-free for many families by 2021. It also puts New Jersey on the path to a $15 an hour minimum wage, with an increase to $11 an hour in the next fiscal year.
Murphy also wants to provide tax breaks for many families. He would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, create a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and raise the property tax deduction to $15,000.
"This budget is a down payment on that future. It puts families ahead of the special interests and sound policy before soundbites. It reflects our shared priorities and has a sound strategy for economic opportunity that grows from the middle class out, not from the top down," Murphy said.
The budget also calls for a $3.2 billion contribution to the pension system and calls for the legalization of marijuana. It projects a budget surplus of $743 million.
Photo Credit: Getty Images