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Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin

Assembly Budget Committee Chairwoman Eliana Pintor Marin said she personally wouldn’t favor increasing taxes on the business community to plug holes in the next state budget, noting businesses are already struggling to provide the jobs New Jersey residents need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now more than ever we need business and we need businesses to stay on and employ people,” said at the virtual meeting Wednesday of the NJBIA/State Chamber of Commerce Taxation and Economic Development Policy Committee. “I don’t even think we should be talking about taxing you guys.”

The Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled Thursday to hear directly from State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio, who issued an update late last week on the state’s financial situation and the steep revenue losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy. Muoio forecast a $2.7 billion shortfall in FY 2020 and a $7.2 billion shortfall for the nine-month budget ending June 30, 2021.

Marin said she didn’t expect to hear too many surprises in the state treasurer’s testimony on Thursday.

“Based on the analysis she sent out, we know that for the closing of this year we’re going to be OK in the in the sense that we’re going to be able use some of the remaining money in the fund,” Marin said, referring to the governor’s plan to transfer $421 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the FY20 General Fund to balance the budget, which has been extended this year to end on Sept. 30.

The nine-month FY 2021 budget that covers Oct. 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 will be the challenge, she said.

“It’s no secret that we’re going to have to borrow money,” Marin said. “I don’t have all the intricacies of the bill yet,” she said, adding the details were still be worked out with the Murphy administration. Her committee expects to review the borrowing bill on Monday, she said.

Marin said the amount of borrowing will ultimately depend on how much federal aid the state receives and what the state budget situation looks like once tax revenues come in during July.  The state extended its normal April 15 tax filing deadline until July 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so more will also be known when those annual income and corporate business tax revenues come in then.