Notes from Phil Murphy’s budget conference call

By Holly Schepisi

Fascinating conference call.

I joined in the Democratic State Committee conference call with Governor Murphy 1-609-246-3298 to talk about the budget.

There is a proposed spending increase of several billion dollars, tax increases on everything from Uber rides, Air BnB, gas tax increases, corporate business taxes, hospital taxes, sales tax, vape tax, internet sales tax, sports betting taxes, firearm taxes, among others but that isn’t enough. The Governor’s spending proposal is so high that even with all these tax increases there is a potential $1 BILLION deficit, with only partial school funding, partial pension payments and no reforms whatsoever. Instead there is the push to further increase the sales tax, the small business tax, the corporate business tax and a millionaire’s tax.

During this call Governor Murphy’s talking points are as follows:

1. Fiscal year ends Saturday and the Democrats are meeting but NJ needs sustainable long term revenues in place — aka permanent additional tax increases beyond those mentioned above.

2. NJ needs to stop kicking the can down the road — NJ must must move beyond that. We need to break the back of that culture.

We need to ensure “hand outs” are available. They deserve it.

I agree with the Governor that NJ needs to stop kicking the can down the road. We must make cuts. We need to reform our pension system. We must change our school funding formula. We must change our healthcare system.

3. Property Taxes – the Governor said property taxes are so high because of our public educational system and that additional taxes would help with this burden.

Unfortunately this statement is just not true. Even if our current funding formula was fully funded the average suburban community still receives virtually no funding. By way of example, River Vale currently receives $455 per student per year in school funding. In the event the school funding formula was fully funded River Vale would receive a maximum of less than $1,000 per student per year in school funding. All 70 of the Bergen County school districts combined would still receive less than Jersey City. Bergen County currently contributes more than 30 percent of the total taxes paid and receives less than 3 percent of those monies back. Under the new tax proposals we may send down more than 35-40 percent and receive back even less.

Don’t believe the hype. We need to stop being a piggy bank.


HOLLY SCHEPISI is an attorney and businesswoman who has served New Jersey’s 39th legislative district in the New Jersey General Assembly since January 2012.