Budget impasse in New Jersey expected to lead to second straight government shutdown

It appears the key stumbling block is now the millionaires tax.

David Madden
June 29, 2018 - 6:29 pm
Governor Phil Murphy

Chris Pedota/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

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TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- A budget impasse between New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and fellow Democrats in the legislature has put the state at the brink of a shutdown at midnight Saturday. 
                
It appears the key stumbling block is now the millionaires tax. Legislators are ready to accept one that starts at $5 million of income. The governor says that'll only provide one fifth the revenue a full millionaires levy would bring in.
                
There's also continued talk about a number of other tax hikes, from a return of the sales tax to 7% to a limited increase in the Corporate Business Tax.
                
Each side is pointing a finger of blame at the other, with Senate President Steve Sweeney making a key comparison between this governor and the last one.
                
"He likes to talk about Christie, and I think he studied him very well and his behavior is exactly like Chris Christie's but he smiles more," Sweeney told reporters shortly after day long talks broke off.        

Murphy, in response, would beg to differ.
                
"I'm not Chris Christie no matter what folks might say. I'm not here for political expediency," hey said. "I'm here to get our state right and fix it once and for all."
                
Personalities aside, it appears if the millionaires issue were settled, a deal could be made. And both sides say they're willing to talk, if the other simply picks up the phone.

Governor Murphy sent a letter to Assembly members Friday night asking them to commit to passing a budget before the deadline.

"I ask you all to join me and fully commit to getting this budget done in time to avert a costly government shutdown," Murphy said. "The people of New jersey deserve nothing less."
                
Legislators are now in recess for the weekend, although they could be called back to Trenton if need be. But the next move is truly in the hands of a man in office for just five and a half months.
                
Murphy could sign the legislature-approved budget now on his desk or use his line item veto power, both of which would avoid a government shutdown. But it now appears more likely he will order a closure of state facilities on Sunday, although Murphy said he wanted to meet with his cabinet first to finalize what he called a "war plan."