A new report finds a majority of financial experts in New Jersey believe Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed state budget will ultimately have a negative impact on the Garden State

Ralph Albert Thomas, the CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs, said a survey of more than 300 certified public accountants was recently conducted and “54% of our members felt the proposed budget would make the state’s economy worse in the long term, 30% said significantly worse, 24% said marginally worse.”

The poll also found 24% of CPA’s thought the proposed budget would not have any significant impact on the state economy, and 1 in 5 said the proposed budget would actually improve the state’s economic situation.

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It’s disappointing

He said many CPA’s and other residents are disappointed with the proposed spending plan because they believe “there should be a reduction in spending and the governor’s budget adds a significant increase in spending.”

He said if more and more spending continues to be added to the state budget every year “you have to ask the question where is the money going to come from going forward, to continue those new initiatives.”

What should the budget focus on?

“We’re looking for reforms in the public worker pension system, and measures to reduce the size of New Jersey’s municipalities and school districts," Thomas said.

He said it’s important that consideration be given to merging various school districts “so that we could right-size the budget here in New Jersey.”

He said many CPAs also believe there should be some sort of permanent relief for real estate taxes rather than rebates.

What about help for small businesses?

“One of the biggest issues was the lack of providing relief for the small business community, which is crucial here in the state of New Jersey," Thomas said.

Thomas added that another important issue is what to do with the large amount of unspent federal pandemic relief funding that has been given to the state.

He noted many CPAs believe “we should utilize those funds to replenish the unemployment fund, because basically that was wiped out by the pandemic, the state’s kind of sitting on that money right now.”

The governor’s current budget proposal was rated higher by the Society of CPAs than his previous spending plans put forth over the past two years.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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