New Jersey Business & Industry Association President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka Esq. issued the following statement regarding today’s approval of the Legislature’s $38.8 billion budget.

“We are pleased that the budget advanced by the Legislature today forgoes tax increases when New Jersey taxpayers have clearly had enough.

“New Jersey desperately needs fiscal reform, not more taxes. Proponents of the millionaires tax often cite two reasons for their support: It’s popular and they contend it’s fairer to ask them to pay ‘a little bit more.’

“We respectfully offer that the wealthiest 1.5% of our residents are already paying 40% of the state’s annual gross income tax revenue. We should not be giving those residents any more reason to consider leaving our great state, particularly when we have yet to fix our structural deficiencies that have contributed to the state’s long-term debt obligations increasing 382% from 2007-2017. We have already seen a net loss of nearly $25 billion in adjusted gross income in the most recent 12 years of data.

“It is important to remember that addressing these needed reforms is also popular among New Jerseyans. In a recent NJBIA-Rutgers Eagleton poll, most said they don’t get their money’s worth for the taxes they pay. A majority said they support having state workers pay more toward their pensions and health benefits; and the majority supports reforming public employment health benefits to better resemble private health insurance plans.

“Again, now is not the time for new or added taxes. It is time to comprehensively address our underfunded pensions and right-size public workers’ health benefit costs, so we can put New Jersey on a more sustainable and fiscally responsible path.”