NEW JERSEY – Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho voted against a massive $50.6 billion budget proposed by Democrats today that skimps on tax relief and creates multi-billion-dollar slush funds that the Murphy administration could easily abuse.
“This budget misses a historic opportunity to give back billions to taxpayers who are struggling with high taxes and inflation,” said Oroho (R-24). “Instead of the $8 billion of tax relief that Republicans proposed, Democrats are giving back scraps while doling out billions of dollars for pork projects that we can do without.”
Following revelations that the state has nearly $9 billion of tax overcollections this year, Senate Republicans proposed $8 billion of tax relief that Democrats ignored, including:
- $4.5 billion through a pair of “Give It Back” tax rebates (S-2243 and S-2290) totaling $1,500 for millions of families;
- $1 billion of property tax relief by reversing Governor Murphy’s proposed cuts to municipal aid and school aid, fully funding extraordinary special education, increasing the veterans property tax deduction, and more;
- $790 million in structural tax reductions, including raising the retiree income exclusion to $250,000, creating a deduction for charitable contributions, and eliminating the CBT surcharge early; and
- $2 billion to halt planned tax and toll increases by indexing state income tax brackets for inflation, replenishing the Unemployment Insurance Fund to prevent upcoming employer/employee payroll tax increases, stopping automatic toll increases on January 1, and rescinding a major tax increase on the state’s largest health insurer and its customers.
Further, Oroho said that the budget allows Governor Murphy and a handful of Democrat leaders to divvy up more than $1 billion of remaining federal pandemic relief funds, effectively creating a slush fund that won’t require full legislative approval of appropriations.
Similarly, Oroho said there’s no guarantee that $5.2 being deposited into the “New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund” as part of the budget will ever be used to repay debt since the Governor and Democratic leaders can direct the money to favored capital projects without the scrutiny of legislative hearings or votes by the full Legislature.
“I’m all for paying back debt, but I’m not for giving Governor Murphy a pair of massive slush funds that will allow him to dole out taxpayer funds without oversight,” Oroho said. “We need more transparency in our budget process, not less like Democrats have proposed.”