By: Morgan Reitzel, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy’s $53.1 billion state budget, which will start on July 1, 2023 proposes more school aid, a renewed property tax rebate programs, more public pensions, and transportation increasing the state spending by more than $2 billion, 5% more than last year’s budget with no tax increases.
Gov. Murphy proposes making a full payment to the state’s public pension fund, $7 billion up from last year, increasing the K-12 education fund 8% to $10.75 billion. Additionally, Murphy promises to set aside $1 billion for universional pre-K, $110 million from last year. Similarly, Murphy appoints to renew a property tax rebate program which would make New Jersey more affordable. The $2 billion price tag guarantees families making up to $150,000 yearly a rebate check of $1,500 and those earning $150,000-$250,000 get $1,000 in rebates. To add, renters earning up to $150,000 will get $450 continuing last year’s program. This individual program will be assisting an estimated 1.5 million households.
“First it was the pandemic, and now it is inflation,” Gov. Murphy stated. “You’ve been paying more for everything from gas to groceries, and your paycheck hasn’t kept up. This entire budget is purpose-built to help you find your place in the next New Jersey by securing your place in the New Jersey of right now.”
The state will be bringing in more money than ever before as New Jersey is expected to acquire almost a $4 billion increase than 2022’s fiscal year which has increased 53% ($18 billion) since Murphy took office.
Both Democratic and Republican members of the budgeting committee were overturned by the rate setting process for the state health benefit plans of 2022. As rising health benefits cost is a challenge that New Jersey faces, Murphy decided to raise the premiums by 20% to reduce the burden of several state workers unions. This covers that cost of more than 800,000 state and local governments workers.
Unsurprisingly, members of the republican party are not happy about the new budget and believe that Murphy is not doing what is right for New Jerseyans.
“I am fearful that we are going to end up right back on the path we were on before this disruption,” Republican state senator Declan O’Scanlon said. “I’m worried about where the taxpayers will end up.”
Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-Warren concludes that the democrats should have cut down on property taxes than take money and give it back with $10 billion in the rainy day fund.
The Murphy Administration has used a large portion of the budget to deal with New Jersey’s biggest fiscal issues which includes $4 billion to fund a new property tax relief program and $20 billion in payments to the public worker pension fund.
“The reality is: If you’re overtaxing, that’s a bigger problem for residents when they could use the money now,” DiMaio said.
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