CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. – Following Gov. Phil Murphy’s $41 billion proposed budget announcement, Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan are calling on the governor to operate under a 2 percent spending cap and consider South Jersey residents in budget negotiations.
Municipalities have been subject to a 2 percent spending cap since 2011. Republicans reintroduced a bill this session to cap state spending at 2 percent.
“As a councilman and mayor, I know that operating under a two percent spending cap is not only possible, but it is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” said Simonsen (R-Cape May). “The governor’s 2021 budget is eighteen percent more than before he entered office. This out-of-control spending is only achievable through tax and fee increases on millionaires and businesses. Our priority should be the taxpayers, not the governor’s pet projects.”
Murphy’s budget will increase taxes by nearly $1 billion with a higher tax on incomes over $1 million, fees for businesses with employees on Medicaid, a cigarette tax, an assessment on opioid manufacturers and increased fees on ammunition and firearms. Proposed spending is up $2.2 billion, but pensions are still not fully funded and schools are shortchanged by $1.2 billion.
“The governor needs to rein in his runaway spending, especially when it doesn’t make a dent in our state’s overwhelming debt and fails to properly fund our schools,” said McClellan (R-Cape May). “When I served as a councilman, I saw firsthand how municipal government’s two percent tax levy cap helped control the rise of property taxes, and Trenton needs to do the same.”
The lawmakers, who represent the first legislative district located at the southern tip of New Jersey, took the seats from Democrats following the November election. Last year, South Jersey was hit hard when Murphy froze budgeted appropriations.
In a joint statement, Sen. Michael Testa (R-Cape May), Simonsen and McClellan said they would ensure residents are no longer ignored by Trenton:
“We want Governor Murphy to get his spending priorities straight, stop taxing and spending residents and businesses out of this state and stand up for the people of South Jersey who deserve better. We were elected to give South Jersey a seat at the table and we will not tolerate being at the bottom of the barrel.”