How should NJ spend billions in surplus funds? Groups and politicians weigh in.
One day after the Murphy administration announced a windfall in state revenues, proposals are pouring in on what to do with the billions of dollars of surplus.
The state is estimating $12 billion extra over the next two years.
“There’s no reason for lawmakers to reinvent the wheel here,” says Shelia Reynertson, with NJ Policy Perspective.
The proposals range from child tax credits to more money for special education in schools to relief for undocumented immigrants. All options are on the table.
“The middle class and the poor need help,” says state Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio.
Democratic state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says he wants “the largest tax relief program in state history.” But for a second day in a row, he refused to give any details as to what that meant.
DiMaio says he believes Coughlin wants a property tax rebate check cut and sent to homeowners, but he says he has seen what happened previously.
“It’s failed in the past. It’s doomed to failure no matter who puts it in or how it’s structured,” DiMaio says.
State Senate Republicans like Sen. Ed Durr say they want a direct $500 cash payment to offset surging gas prices. Other Republicans say they want a $1,000 payment sent directly to New Jersey residents.
Progressive groups like New Jersey Policy Perspective say the surge in revenue brings with it an obligation to help those who are struggling.
“We don't want to let this moment go by where we can support policies that help low-income families get cash in their pocket where they often spend it immediately and locally in their communities,” says Reynertson. “We'd like to see the rebate for renters doubled at least.”
That would be $500 – twice the $250 that Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed. The group also wants an expansion on the Earned Income Tax Credit and more money put into New Jersey Transit. They also want money put into a ‘rainy day fund” in case of another economic downturn.
On News 12’s “Ask Gov. Murphy” program, the governor said he is open to expanding his property tax rebate plan, known as ANCHOR.