TRENTON, N.J. – With New Jersey residents still reeling from government-mandated Covid-19 lockdowns and now record inflation and a looming recession those policies sparked, Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano are criticizing Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget that funds pork yet fails to deliver meaningful relief to taxpayers.
Flanked by a who’s-who of Democrat leaders at Cranford High School last Thursday, Murphy signed his behemoth $50.6 billion FY23 spending package over Republican objections to the nearly 50% budget increase since the lame-duck governor took office in 2018. Between Murphy’s proposed budget delivered in March and the final draft presented just moments before the respective budget committees approved it June 25, it grew nearly $2 billion for political interests.
“Democrats got their Christmas-tree items fulfilled while giving lumps of coal to the taxpayers of New Jersey,” McGuckin (R-Ocean) said. “Too bad you can’t use coal to fuel cars. The energy crisis would be resolved and then some, until Democrats passed a bill to take even the coal.”
According to one news analysis, the Democrat-controlled Legislature made 312 demands for more spending, from a $1.1 billion increase for temporary property tax relief to $10,000 for a North Jersey fraternal order.
Meanwhile, legislators like McGuckin and Catalano lamented the squandered opportunity to use $10 billion raised in over taxation, as well as $3 billion in unallocated federal Covid-19 funds, to bring permanent tax relief to residents and businesses. The LD10 legislators have called for that tax money to be used to fully fund all New Jersey school S-2 obligations—their schools, such as Brick and Toms River, have lost millions in state aid—and send property tax rebates now, not May 2023: just in time for election season.
“The number one complaint Greg and I hear is property taxes are too high. We agree. We fought to be heard, but Democrats ignored our calls for permanent relief,” Catalano (R-Ocean) said. “Certain districts will benefit from these pet projects, but truly, the New Jersey taxpayer is the loser of Governor Murphy’s bloated budget.”