Gov. Phil Murphy, in a news conference detailing the upcoming budget battle, made one thing very clear to the state’s wealthiest members: He’s still 100 percent behind a millionaire’s tax.
And raising the state’s sales tax, too.
“I’m asked, ‘Are you still committed to the millionaire’s tax, the sales tax, closing the loopholes as a sustainable revenue matter? Have you gotten off of that?’ And the answer is, ‘No,’” he said.
Murphy, in an approximately 30-minute session where he both gave his thoughts and took questions, said taxes are part of a budget he said is filled with sound and sustainable ideas.
“I have been very clear that we must make sound and sustainable budget decisions in order to invest in New Jersey’s future,” he said. “The millionaire’s tax is sound and sustainable. Closing corporate loopholes is sound and sustainable. Resetting and undoing the gimmick of the sales tax cut is sound and sustainable.”
Murphy said his plans are the only ways to fix state issues he blames squarely on former Gov. Chris Christie.
“I view this as a reset budget,” he said. “We’re digging out of eight years of a mess.
“Let’s reset the clock, particularly for the middle class.”
Murphy said he doesn’t support raising taxes just to do so.
“This is my sense on taxation: First of all, who wants to pay more taxes? Raise your hand. That’s what I thought, nobody ever does,” he said. “The taxation that is choking people is property taxes. We have a number of initiatives underway early on to try to chip away at that and crack the back of that, no one magic bullet.”
Murphy went on to say bringing the state sales tax back up to 7 percent — it was lowered as part of the gas tax increase that was used to save the Transportation Trust Fund — is a tax everyone is willing to pay.
“Exactly no one celebrated the reduction of the sales tax and exactly no one has complained to me about the prospect of it resetting to 7 percent,” he said. “And if you look at public polling — and we don’t govern by polling — public polling on the millionaire’s tax, it has a significant majority support.
“I think our job ought to be (to) put those in place: sales, millionaire’s, close loopholes on corporations and hedge funds, close the out of network loophole, which, thankfully, legislatively we’re on the way toward doing.”