Budget showdown looms in NJ between Democrats in charge

It comes down to which taxes go up and for how long.

David Madden
June 21, 2018 - 7:48 am
New Jersey State House, Trenton, New Jersey,
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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A showdown is looming under the Golden Dome in Trenton today, as legislators are set to vote on a $36.5 billion budget they've drawn up in opposition to Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed $37.4 billion plan. The state stands just a week and a half from the second shutdown in as many years. 

It comes down to which taxes go up and for how long. Democrats, who run the show in Trenton, agree on most of the spending. 

Take school funding. The governor approves of a seven-year plan to phase in changes in the formula that's caused inequities across New Jersey. But Murphy added, "Until we have an agreement on sound and sustainable revenues, we cannot have an agreement on school funding."

He opposes the Legislature's plan for a two-year hike in corporate business taxes along with an amnesty program for tax deadbeats. But legislative leaders are dead set against Murphy's call for a permanent millionaires tax along with a return of the sales tax to 7 percent.

"I think we've got the school part reasonably well machined. It's the funding part. It's the ultimate half a loaf," Murphy said at a Trenton news conference Wednesday. "We've got a very nice-looking half a loaf. We need a whole loaf to make this work."

The governor has vowed to veto the Legislature's budget alternative as now written.

Last year's impasse with Republican Chris Christie shut down the government for three days.