After NJ Governor Spearheads $1B-plus Tax Hike, Unions Get Big Payday

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Posted by Hans Schundler on Friday, August 17th, 2018, 4:56 PM PERMALINK

New Jersey recently approved the largest budget in state history on the back of major tax hikes, and still some New Jersey legislators are devising new and innovative ways to tax their constituents.

The prime pitch for taking more money from hardworking New Jerseyans is that budget gaps must be closed and fiscal crises averted.

Governor Murphy, who initially proposed an even heftier $1.5 billion tax hike, assures citizens that these funds are paramount for meeting New Jersey’s urgent financial needs.

Well, if this is about closing gaps, what’s with the union contract victory tour Governor?

Murphy recently visited with New Jersey’s AFSCME chapter to celebrate their massive new $34 million dollar agreement, which came after a $150 million deal with Jersey’s CWA chapter.

These public sector unions, who had a rocky relationship with former Governor Chris Christie to put it mildly, played a huge hand in getting Murphy into the governor’s mansion. In his speech to the AFSCME, Murphy himself remarked that no part of his administration would even be “possible without [their] support.”

And now, after looting New Jersey taxpayers, Murphy has delivered their reward through pay and benefits. The nine-figure deals provide step bonuses for the future and retroactive cash that wasn’t delivered in the past due to a 2015 stalemate with Governor Christie. To keep his pals happy, Governor Murphy is sparing no expense in paying them homage.

During a town hall back in April, a middle class resident from Freehold, NJ challenged Murphy about his grandiose spending proposals. He asked where the money was coming from and suggested that the Governor reform pension funding and reduce spending, or else he’d need to leave the state due to increasing expenses. Murphy responded, “It may not be the cheapest place in the country to live, but you get a lot back for that.”

What voters are getting back right now is the 50th-ranked, dead last, business tax climate in the nation. The highest average property tax bill, and one of the worst overall tax burdens in the country.

The Governor’s tax-and-pay-off unions move only makes New Jersey’s biggest fiscal problem worse, exacerbating unfunded public pension liabilities.

Indeed, Murphy will need to raise taxes every year he’s in office to satisfy his promises to those friends, and you can bet they’ll hold him to it.

On the heels of Murphy’s moves, Senate President Steve Sweeney’s working group has finally delivered some recommendations on how to address the state’s financial problems. This may lead to a showdown with Murphy, and represents the key fight to determine the state’s future.

Photo Credit: Phil Murphy

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