NEW JERSEY – The Republican members of the Senate and General Assembly are taking action to force Governor Phil Murphy to convene a special session of the Legislature to adopt legislative solutions to prevent a payroll tax increase on employers, repay debt, and restore stability to the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund.
Senate and Assembly Republicans have circulated a petition to legislative Democrats that would constitutionally require the governor to call a special session if signed by a majority of the members of each house of the Legislature.
“Governor Murphy wants to raise taxes on small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling to survive the economic impact of the pandemic,” Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said. “We’re calling on our Democrat colleagues who have witnessed the struggles of Main Street employers and listened to the desperate pleas of their constituents begging for help with unemployment to join us in petitioning the governor to call a special session of the Legislature. There is no reason for any Democrat in the Legislature to stand by and watch as Governor Murphy inflicts unnecessary harm upon their constituents and other New Jerseyans. By joining us in signing the petition, they can make this a bipartisan call to action.”
“The Murphy administration seems content on imposing the most expensive, irresponsible, and destructive solutions possible to fix our UI Fund,” Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho said. “It doesn’t have to be that way, we don’t have to put more employers and jobs at risk when reasonable alternatives are waiting for the Legislature’s consideration. Our petition provides Democrats opposed to the payroll tax increase an opportunity to help our businesses and the residents they employ. If they share our concerns, they should take action by signing the petition and working to get other Democrats to sign as well.”
Since March, Republicans have been calling for Governor Murphy to stabilize New Jersey’s UI Fund with a portion of the billions in federal pandemic relief funds that have been delivered to New Jersey, a solution since employed by many other states.
Instead, Governor Murphy has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government and will impose an unnecessary payroll tax increase on employers in October as his solutions to maintain the solvency of the UI Fund.
Interest on approximately $160 million of UI Fund debt will begin accruing on September 6 at a rate of approximately 2.3%. The Murphy administration has projected borrowing will grow to $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year under the governor’s current approach to managing the Fund, leading to tens of millions of dollars of interest payments at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers.
“We have billions of federal aid that could be used to avoid massive tax increases on businesses still trying to survive the pandemic,” Assembly Republican Budget Officer Hal Wirths said. “It would be unconscionable for Democrats in the Senate and Assembly to let Governor Murphy get away with yet another tax increase on businesses when the state has the funds to avoid it.”
The petition to call a special session was drafted pursuant to Article IV, Section I, paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution, which states, in part, “Special sessions of the Legislature shall be called by the Governor upon petition of a majority of all the members of each house.”
All 14 Republican members of the Senate and 28 Republican members of the General Assembly have signed the petition.
It would only take the signatures of seven Democrats in the Senate and 13 in the General Assembly to provide the majority needed in each house to force Governor Murphy to call a special session.
Any member of the New Jersey Legislature who wishes to sign the petition may submit their electronic signature file to the executive directors of the Senate Republican Office and/or the Assembly Republican Office.
The petition file will be updated as new signatures are added and to view the petition, click here.