Use this interactive tool to draft a budget for NJ. Tax or spend? Your choice

John Reitmeyer, Colleen O'Dea | April 19, 2021 | Budget
The state budgeting process is underway. Could you do a better job than lawmakers and officials?

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed a nearly $45 billion budget for the fiscal year that beings July 1. Legislators have begun their review of that budget and what they eventually pass and send to him to sign into law could result in a different plan than the governor’s.

Think drafting a balanced budget is easy? Now’s your chance.

This budget tool uses Murphy’s proposed budget as a starting point. Below are some commonly discussed revenues and expenditures that you can either increase or cut by clicking the accompanying check box. The changes you make will create your own version of the budget, reflecting any priorities that may differ with or go beyond Murphy’s.

Remember, though, that the budget must be balanced when you are finished, meaning revenues must match or exceed expenditures because the state Constitution does not allow a deficit.

Feel free to share your choices on social media. Please also email us your top choices and priorities. You can send us all of your choices by enclosing the link underneath the graphic at the bottom of this tool.


Restore state sales tax - currently 6.625% - to 7% ($650M) Reduce income taxes across the board by 10% ($1.62B) Repeal surcharge on top-earning businesses ($210M) Restore estate tax that was repealed in 2018 ($475M) Hike taxes on the very wealthy with new tax brackets for annual income over $2.5M and over $5M ($170M) End sales tax break on purchases of boats/yachts ($15M) Repeal millionaires tax of 10.75% on earnings between $1M and $5M enacted in 2020 ($500M) Increase cigarette taxes - currently $2.70 per pack ($216M) Eliminate inheritance tax levied on some beneficiaries ($468M) Increase income taxes on residents earning between $250,000 and $1 million ($575M) Cut business taxes across the board by 10% ($372M) Repeal state income tax deduction for taxes paid on NJ residence ($710M) Establish income tax deduction for donations to NJ-based charities ($94M) Increases taxes/fees on guns/ammunition ($8.5M)


Move closer to fully funding school aid formula ($1B) Update baseline year for Homestead property tax relief benefit ($80M) Adjust municipal aid to offset property taxes for inflation back to 2010 (last change) ($304M) Hold pension payment flat, instead of making full annual required contribution ($1.6B) End Clean Energy fund diversion, pay for NJ Transit from general fund ($82M) 10% boost in aid to public colleges ($87.2M) Increase charity care subsidy to hospitals by 10% ($27.9M) End diversion of NJ Transit capital resources to its operating budget, cover difference from general fund ($362M) Provide COVID-19 relief payments to undocumented immigrants ($35M) Adopt Path to Progress health care reforms for state workers/retirees ($587M) Boost ending surplus to recommended 10% of annual spending ($2.3B) Cut executive branch spending across the board by 10% ($390M) Hold all public schools harmless (no aid reductions) ($150M) Cancel new income tax rebate for middle class families ($319M) Provide more aid to small businesses and nonprofits - first 2 years ($300M)
$40B $30B $20B $10B $0
Total resources: 0
Total expenditures: 0
Surplus: 0
Note the surplus includes Murphy's $2.19 billion undesignated ending surplus for FY2022. It includes $220 million dedicated for open space reserves.

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