Volume 9/Issue 14

  • Governor Murphy Signs FY 2020 Budget

 

Governor Murphy Signs FY 2020 Budget

On Sunday, June 30th, Governor Murphy signed the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Act into law, which did not include an increased tax on millionaires. The announcement and enactment come after weeks of discussion, and, disagreement between the Murphy Administration and legislative leaders over the Governor’s push to impose an increased tax on all individuals earning over $1 million. “Make no mistake, I will continue fighting for tax fairness and fiscal responsibility well beyond today’s budget actions,” stated Governor Murphy on Sunday.

The Legislature approved a budget that closely resembled the Governor’s proposed FY 2020 budget, including increased funding for infrastructure, education, clean energy, and property tax relief. Although there was little-to-no divergence over spending priorities, the two democratically-controlled branches were not able to agree on new sources of revenue, leading to uncertainty around whether or not Governor Murphy would accept the Legislature’s budget.

The Governor approved the budget with several changes. Citing unrealistic revenue forecasts on the part of the Legislature, the Governor Murphy used his line item veto authority to remove $48.5 million in spending and signed an executive order putting $235 million in discretionary funding on hold until the Treasury Department can ensure the state has the revenue to support the expenditures.

“We gave him a good budget. We’re glad he recognized it (and) we’re glad he signed it,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney after the Governor signed the budget on Sunday.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin issued a statement following the Governor’s approval of the budget. “The responsible and thoughtful budget the Governor signed into law today funds our shared priorities. I’m particularly pleased that we stood up for the middle class by expanding the Senior Freeze Property Relief Tax program, doubling the veterans’ income tax deduction and providing for almost $150 million in property tax relief along with increasing funding for NJ transit.”

The budget includes additional funding for New Jersey Transit, with an extra $50 million added by the Legislature, and $60 million more for Pre-K expansion, both of which are high priorities for the Governor. Additionally, it significantly reduces the diversion of Clean Energy Program funding, returning over $70 million to continue the state’s clean energy efforts, and it supplies more money toward efforts to fully fund the state’s K-12 school funding formula.

Finally, the budget maintains a healthy surplus of $1.276 million, including a deposit of over $400 million into the state’s rainy day fund, which the Governor has strongly advocated for. “With this budget, I am protecting our fiscal house and making the first deposit into the Rainy Day Fund in over a decade,” said Governor Murphy in a statement Sunday, “We cannot and will not continue to spend without ensuring we have the necessary funds to do so.”