TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants to raise the sales tax and extend its reach, hike income taxes on the wealthy and legalize recreational marijuana.
The first-term Democratic governor announced the proposals Tuesday in his first budget address to the Democratic-led Legislation.
“Eight weeks ago today, I pledged to be a different type of governor. I pledged to create a stronger and fairer New Jersey that measured success not by what we could do for the few, but by what we could accomplish for all nine million of our residents,” he said.
Murphy’s proposed spending plan of $37.4 billion is roughly 5 percent higher than former Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s final-year proposal.
The governor wants to raise the sales tax from 6.625 percent to 7 percent and include ride-sharing services and accommodations like Airbnb. Christie had cut the sales tax by a fraction.
“Let’s be honest — the impact of the 3/8 of one percent sales tax decrease has been nearly imperceptible to the average New Jersey family, but it has directly impacted our ability to provide services to and greater future investment in that family,” Murphy said.
Under his budget plan, incomes over $1 million would be taxed at 10.75 percent, up from the top bracket of 8.97 percent.
“On these, and on all the critical issues New Jersey faces, we have been aggressive and we plan to stay aggressive, because our state and our people deserve a government that supports their values and their futures,” Murphy said. “This budget is a down payment on that future. It puts families ahead of the special interests and sound policy before soundbites. It reflects our shared priorities and has a sound strategy for economic opportunity that grows from the middle class out, not from the top down.”
The controversial millionaire’s tax would help pay for underfunded schools, transportation and pension systems, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
“This will raise approximately $765 million for the investments we must make in all of our residents,” Murphy said.
But some fellow Democrats say, ‘no way.’ Senate President Steve Sweeney wants a tax on corporations instead. The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is against both ideas.
“We need to keep people here who are job creators, we need to keep people here who are going to pay income tax, who buy things, pay sales tax. Both of those things have a tendency to have people think about not staying here,” President Tom Bracken said.
Some Republicans say raising taxes isn’t necessary.
“Increasing taxes up front I think sends a very bad message to the families and the individuals and the corporations that want to invest and to grow here,” State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. said.
Murphy’s plan also calls for increasing school funding, universal pre-k, and money for women’s health, the opioid epidemic and gun safety research. Additionally, it allocates $242 million for NJ TRANSIT improvements.
To pay for much of the freight, the governor wants to legalize recreational marijuana by January 2019.
“He said it would be in his first 100 days, that’s not going to happen, because he’s seen a lot of push back from Democrats in the Legislature, particularly the Legislative Black Caucus, led by Sen. Ron Rice, who thinks that more drugs in the community would hurt minorities, ” political expert Jeanette Hoffman told Baker.
Now begins the hard part – getting the Legislature to buy into the plan.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)