Largest tax relief program in NJ history? What we know so far
It is becoming clearer that some form a tax relief will be included in the next state budget, but few details have emerged about any plan to do so.
That includes how much, in what form, for whom and what income requirements would be included.
On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said he will "insist on the largest tax relief program in state history," but then offered no details.
Republicans in the legislature have been clamoring for tax relief for weeks amid reports of record tax revenues flowing into the state's coffers. GOP members of the senate budget committee outlined a proposal simply dubbed "Give it Back." It would return $4.5 billion in excess revenues directly to taxpayers with rebates between $500 and $1,000. A separate measure would provide a $500 tax credit to offset high gas prices.
Republican Senate Budget Officer, Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, issued a statement Thursday saying he and his GOP colleagues would not support any budget "unless four million families receive $1,500 of direct relief this Spring."
Democrats have slowly started to come on board with the idea of tax relief with updated revenue figures showing tax collections will come in $8 billion higher than estimated.
However, Gov. Phil Murphy's administration is urging caution.
New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio warned of a coming economic downturn that could flip the script and find revenues billions short in the coming years. She suggested keeping more than a proposed $4.5 billion in reserve to deal with coming deficits.
In testimony before lawmakers, Muoio said the cash windfall "will clearly serve as a temptation," but warned revenues could end up $10 billion short over the next two years.
With budget testimony wrapped up this week, negotiations between lawmakers and Murphy now begin to come up with a final spending plan by July 1.