Sun Editorial: Governor’s budget proposal is a U-turn from previous plans

There are a lot of differences between Phil Murphy’s budget proposal and Chris Christie’s previous proposals.

By: Alan Bauer

The Sun

That pain in your neck is likely whiplash if you paid attention to Gov. Murphy’s budget address last week. He pretty much pulled a quick U-turn from the previous eight gubernatorial budget addresses. This plan is about as far away from a Chris Christie proposal as one can get.

Among Murphy’s major points is a return to a 7 percent sales tax. You’ll recall fewer than two years ago Christie and Democratic legislative leaders brokered a deal: a 23-cent per gallon hike in the gas tax for a reduction in the sales tax, which now is 6.625 percent.

Murphy also wants a 10.75 percent tax on income over $1 million, a tax on services such as Uber, the closing of various corporate tax loopholes and the legalization of marijuana. He included a starting point for his push to a $15 per hour minimum wage by calling for a minimum $11 per hour wage for state workers and contractors.

That extra money, about $1.5 billion, would go toward the disaster that is the state pension fund, public schools, free community college for some residents and various other projects.

One might think, since the Dems run everything in Trenton, Murphy’s plan will roll through to passage. One likely would be wrong. Already there are signs Democratic lawmakers are pushing back on at least a few proposals, such as the millionaire’s tax (some prefer a corporate tax hike), the sales tax (remember, some just supported the cut a couple years ago and probably aren’t eager to explain a sudden reversal to their constituents) and marijuana legalization.

The good news is there’s still plenty of time for all sides to cut a deal. Nothing needs to be finalized until mid-summer.

After that, of course, we could be looking at another government shutdown. In which case, perhaps we’ll find out if the governor owns any beach property.