Murphy shocked the Legislature voted to extend current incentives: ‘I am awe-struck’

Gov. Phil Murphy said he was shocked the legislature passed a bill Thursday that would extend the existing tax incentive programs set to expire at the end of the month.

“I have to say … I am awe-struck, jaw-dropped, something, by the folks who voted to extend the economic development incentives,” he said.

“This is a law, it’s quite clear, that was written by special interests, for special interests.”

Murphy spoke at a news conference to address the $38.7 billion budget, also passed by the legislature Thursday, which aligns with much of the governor’s agenda, but doesn’t give him the millionaire’s tax he wants.

When asked by a reporter if, by allowing the existing tax incentives to continue to be approved while the deadline looms, Murphy was implicitly condoning the special interests that created the law, the governor rebuffed.

“The good news is … is that we put new sheriff’s in there,” Murphy said.

“I’m prepared to play the string out for the next nine days because I have complete confidence in (Economic Development Authority CEO) Tim Sullivan, Kevin Quinn, the chair, new compliance officer.”

The state has nine days remaining until it must pass a balanced budget.

Murphy was joined by Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to reiterate that the millionaire’s tax will help boost the state’s coffers in a way that will help credit ratings agencies renew their faith in New Jersey’s fiscal future.

“I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but I’d be derelict in my duties as treasurer if I don’t use every opportunity to urge fiscal responsibility,” Muoio said.

“If a recession hits, and the bottom drops out, like it did during the dot com recession, to the tune of $2 billion to our revenue, or worse, like it did during the Great Recession when we lost nearly $5 billion in revenue — that’s what a rainy day really looks like.

“And we won’t be able to rely on structural savings or phantom revenue projections to get by if that happens.”