Trenton — Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s latest millionaire’s tax proposal:
“The unexpected surge in revenues the Governor is now claiming is the surge the Legislature expected when we imposed a 2.5 percent surcharge on the millionaire and billionaire corporations that benefited directly from the Republican Congress’ tax cut. It is the Corporation Business Tax surcharge we imposed that has been coming in far over the Administration’s revenue projections – just as the Legislature said it would.
“The Legislature imposed that Corporation Business Tax surcharge over the Governor’s objection. The Legislature proposed a 3 percent surcharge over four years, and it was the Governor who insisted on cutting the rate to a 2.5 percent surtax for two years and 1.5 percent after that – a giveback that will cost New Jersey hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from the wealthiest corporations.
“To pay for its own corporate tax giveaways, the Republican Congress punished blue states like New Jersey by slashing the SALT deduction on federal income taxes, which is why I insisted on raising the corporate business tax instead of the millionaire’s tax. It makes no sense to raise the millionaire’s tax until the SALT deduction is restored. Due to the unpredictability of the Trump Administration’s economic policy along with constant fluctuation of the stock market, the millionaire’s tax is the most volatile of revenues.
“For this Governor, the millionaire’s tax is just a talking point.
“First, he said he needed it to balance the budget. He didn’t. Now he says he wants it because he has suddenly discovered that property taxes are an issue after years of saying that high property taxes are not a problem because New Jerseyans get ‘value’ for their taxes.
“We need a real budget with long-term, sustainable property tax savings, not gimmicks.
“If the Governor cares about property tax relief – which we in the Legislature do care about – he can get it by supporting the sensible bipartisan pension and benefits reforms we have laid out in our Path to Progress report.
“Creating a hybrid pension system, merging the School Employees Health Benefits Plan into the State Health Benefits Plan, and shifting from Platinum level to Gold health care plans would save over $1.5 billion a year for property taxpayers, and tens of billions of dollars in the years ahead.
“It would help make New Jersey affordable for everyone and enable us to get to full funding of the pension system by FY23, which is the biggest priority if we want to restore the state’s bond rating and actually fix the state’s fiscal crisis.”