Murphy holds strong on a millionaire’s tax as budget deadline approaches

Gov. Phil Murphy is “cautiously optimistic” as the deadline for the 2020 budget looms. He held a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the Albio Sires Elementary School in West New York to promote his budget.

The big question, of course, is the millionaire’s tax. The governor is once again pushing for the tax, which was a sticking point in last year’s stalled negotiations.

The governor wouldn’t say if it’s a real line in the sand or not, other than that he needs a stable, reliable source of revenue for the middle class. He says if he gets the millionaire’s tax, he’ll put $250 million toward direct property tax relief.

“We can’t keep stumbling every year from June 30 to July 1. The legislators have lived this more than I have, but the whole notion of all nighters, trying to find the band aids and then waking up the first day of the next fiscal year and realizing it’s only a matter of time before you’re doing it again. And a millionaire’s tax goes a long way,” Murphy said.

The governor was also asked about his conditional veto of a dark money bill that requires groups that give political donations to give greater transparency and closure.

The governor sent it back saying he wanted to expand it and make it stronger. Murphy’s been under fire because of his connection to a group called New Direction New Jersey, which gave advertising money to help promote his budget during last year’s budget negotiations.

“We conditionally vetoed that bill because A, I have an obligation to sign things that are constitutional. And notwithstanding, I think a strong and heart-filled passion on behalf of the sponsors to do the right thing, and I don’t question that at all. We couldn’t sign what we got,” Murphy said.

Reportedly, Senate President Steve Sweeney is calling for a veto override. It would be the first of its type and create an even greater rift among Democrats.

Assembly members will have an opportunity to do that this week. The Senate will have an opportunity the first week of June. We can only wait and see.

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