NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz released the following statement on Wednesday regarding the $46.4 billion budget bill for FY22. The spending plan was released by legislative committees late Tuesday and is set to be voted on by the full Legislature on Thursday.
“There is much to like and much to be wary of with this budget agreement. On the positive side, a historic $6.9 billion payment into our underfunded pension system, along with $3.7 billion to address the state’s ever-challenging debt-load are indeed critical steps to address our troubling fiscal issues.
“It is concerning that this budget does not address the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund taxes that are slated to increase greatly on July 1. It is critical that the enormous debt in our UI fund be addressed with federal American Rescue Plan funding. Without it, businesses will be looking at higher and continued taxes on the jobs they provide – which is not good for the state’s economic recovery.
“There are also positives in the budget agreement in the form of several increases in innovation funding and the extension of the Transportation Trust Fund retiree tax cuts, as well as other small tax cuts.
“We also give credit for the inclusion of workforce development investments in programs, which we strongly advocated for and was supported by the county colleges.
“New Jersey still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, with employers who can’t fill jobs. So the need to reskill and upskill employees is greater than it has ever been before. NJBIA continues to advance solutions to our hiring challenges.”
“What is most concerning about this budget, however, is the continuation of the state’s extravagant spending. Our structural imbalance has gone from $4 billion in more spending than revenues in Governor Murphy’s originally proposed budget to $4.3 billion in this bill.
“As both houses consider their votes tomorrow, it is imperative they recognize the opportunity before them. With our great surplus – much of it derived from more than $4 billion in unnecessary borrowing last September – New Jersey has a rare chance to stop crushing our residents and businesses with tax increases and to reverse our affordability crisis.
“We strongly urge our policymakers to consider the trouble that lies ahead for our already beleaguered taxpayers if we continue on our current spending course.”