TRENTON, N.J. – Democrats pushed a $7.7 billion three-month supplemental spending plan through the state legislature Monday over strong Republican opposition.
“It really blows my mind that the other day those on the other side of the aisle were patting themselves on the back because they said we have no tax increases,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “We did increase taxes by doing away with Senior Freeze and the Homestead Rebate. People with disabilities and our seniors who are suffering just got a tax increase. That is a tax hike to them. You can spin it anyway you want but those people are not getting the money they were promised.”
Wirths said he was disappointed that the public only had two hours to review the legislation before the Assembly Budget Committee advanced the almost $8 billion spending plan after only 45 minutes of consideration Thursday afternoon.
Assemblyman Edward Thomson went after the Democrats for delaying payments into the state’s beleaguered public-employee pension system.
“All of these actions revert back to not paying for all those years,” said Thomson (R-Monmouth). “We can’t go back and suspend the progress we made or take credit for when great contributions have been made when in fact we are suspending a nearly billion dollar payment which is due in September.”
Murphy promised to fully fund the public pension system when he was running for governor, but he has never contributed more than planned by a schedule set by former-Gov. Chris Christie. Under Christie’s plan, every annual pension payment would be a new record. Murphy is delaying the $951 million pension payment due Sept. 30.
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz was disappointed that budget cuts were made in vain of reforms as the revenue lost, and the services people need, could have been saved.
“I have not once heard about any of the reforms that have been touted in the past,” said Munoz (R-Union). “If I remember correctly, there were twenty-eight path to progress reforms, some of which could have saved billions of dollars to help fund the services this budget cuts. Many of those reforms haven’t even been introduced in the Assembly.”
Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso went after the Murphy administration after agreeing to a contract with 35,000 public employees that guarantees no layoffs through December 2021.
“With one point two million people out of work, how is this fair for every-day New Jerseyeans most of whom have no idea if they will have a job when the state reopens,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “Not only will the unions get raises, but a promise they won’t lose their jobs. This will certainly result in a tax hike because we won’t be able to make necessary changes to programming and services to reign in taxing and spending.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers extended the state’s fiscal year through September, which would otherwise end June 30, to analyze the impact of stay-at-home orders on tax collections and to rewrite the budget for the next fiscal year.