TRENTON, N.J. – Murphy’s FY2020 budget is projecting $21.5 million in revenue from legislation that has yet to be introduced but would tax pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids.
During today’s budget hearing with Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz questioned why the Murphy administration continues to propose taxing patient’s prescription medication.
“We’ve never seen a tax that has not been passed down to the consumer. So this will be a tax on what is a legal drug,” said Munoz (R-Union). “I can’t come to terms with how that is morally okay to increase a tax on a legal drug.”
In addition to this proposed tax, the state taxes medical marijuana, which is also legal.
“There is no connection between increasing the price of legal opioids, which are used for legitimate pain patients, and decreasing the opioid crisis,” said Munoz. “We are going to drive up the costs of the opioids, which is what has contributed epidemic anyway because they’re addictive and then they’re expensive and then people turn to heroin.”
There are no details on how the opioid tax would work because the legislation hasn’t even been drafted. New York tried to establish a similar law, but courts struck it down because of a clause that prohibited the fee from being passed on to consumers.
“We don’t want to do more to hurt the legitimate pain patients in the state of New Jersey with the promise of making the opioid crisis better because they just don’t go hand in hand,” said Munoz.