TRENTON, N.J. — Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed FY 2019 budget includes $50 million for just year one of a phased-in “free” New Jersey community college program; $45 million of the allotment will go to students with average family incomes below $45,000.
“We can’t do it overnight, because it’s not free,” Murphy said at the program’s Thursday roll-out event at Mercer County Community College. “We believe we can get there in a short number years, particularly, in the course of three years.”
The “not free” part is where Murphy’s Republican critics can agree.
“No government-funded program is free. Taxpayers always pay the price and frankly, people in New Jersey pay far too much already,” said State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., the top Republican in the State Senate.
“I strongly believe we have to do more to make higher education more accessible and affordable for everyone, but we have to do it in a responsible way,” Kean added. “We can partner with industry leaders to make sure students are getting the right skills to succeed in today’s workforce. We can do more to bring down the cost of college and help students graduate on time. What we shouldn’t do, is force overtaxed families to pick up the tab for Governor Murphy’s spending-spree.”
New Jersey government continues to be a financial basket case notwithstanding boasting the country’s highest per capita taxpayer burden.
“Despite new reports that we continue to have the highest property taxes in the country, Governor Murphy still pushes billions of new taxes,” said Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, Kean’s counterpart in the General Assembly. “More taxes is insanity in New Jersey. If we don’t stop raising taxes and start working toward lowering them, we will be saying goodbye to more friends and family.”
A lack of affordable housing remains a top cited concern by millennials who elect to leave New Jersey.