TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference Thursday in Trenton as he and state lawmakers face a budget deadline. Murphy also convened a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day to review preparations for a possible government shutdown if talks fail to produce an agreement.
Lawmakers on Wednesday delivered Murphy a counteroffer in budget negotiations, including a proposal to levy a sales tax on short-term rental properties along the shore.
Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney unveiled the proposal days ahead of Saturday’s budget deadline alongside other Democratic state senators in the statehouse. He said Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is behind the proposal.
The proposal is the latest salvo in the freshman governor’s first budget negotiation as the prospects for a state government shutdown grow. Democrats are clashing over which taxes to raise to finance increases in transit, education and pension spending.
Murphy, a fellow Democrat, admitted to reporters that a shutdown may occur since he has yet to reach an agreement on the new proposal. “We’re not taking anything off the table,” Murphy said at Gregory Elementary School in Trenton Thursday. “I’m prepared to fight and go down with the ship,” the first term governor added, in reference to his stance on funding the state’s education system with higher taxes.
Murphy also continued to take shots at the Garden State’s previous governor, Chris Christie, and said he hasn’t discussed the looming crisis with the republican or former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
The latest proposal from state lawmakers changes the Legislature’s expiration of a business tax hike from two year to four years, increases real estate transfer taxes on property over $1 million from 1 percent to 2 percent and levies a 6.625 percent sales tax on short-term rental property. Currently, such rentals are not taxed.
The proposals are aimed at satisfying Murphy’s request for “sustainable” and long-term revenue. Sweeney also said he wants a long-term plan to address costs in state government.
“Honestly all these taxes, really, bother the hell out of me because what we’re not talking about is fixing New Jersey,” Steve Sweeney said.
The governor also said he would consider raising transit fares if the budget is not passed. A failure to enact a balanced budget by July 1 would result in a state government shutdown; closing state parks and furloughing thousands of state employees.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)