Progressive groups praise Murphy’s budget

Calling it a budget that protects working families and social programs in their greatest time of need, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Working Families and one of the state’s most significant unions praised Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed 2021 budget.

New Jersey Policy Perspective President Brandon McKoy said the budget matches the needs of the day.

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Brandon McKoy.

“In the face of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, Gov. Murphy’s budget proposal thoughtfully protects key state programs and services that workers and their families rely on,” McKoy said. “These investments — in public education, tuition assistance, tax credits for working families and much more — are the building blocks of strong communities, a strong economy, and a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The budget, delivered at SHI Stadium on the campus of Rutgers University, now heads to the Legislature, where it faces a Sept. 30 deadline.

As always occurs, there will be plenty of back and forth — much, presumably, over one of its biggest items, an increased millionaire’s tax. Progressive groups hope the final product doesn’t stray much from what was delivered Tuesday.

New Jersey Working Families State Director Sue Altman said the tax increases are key.

“At a time when 1.5 million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment, the governor is focusing on restoring programs that help seniors living on fixed incomes remain in their homes while launching a new Baby Bonds initiative designed to address longstanding racial and socioeconomic disparities that prevent children of color from pursuing higher education, buying a home or starting a business,” she said.

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Sue Altman.

“At the same time, this budget proposal calls on the wealthy and big corporations to do their part to balance a budget during an unprecedented economic crisis. Millionaires who own yachts and limousines and politically powerful businesses that have taken advantage of tax loopholes can afford to contribute more so that senior citizens and working families get the services they need to recover from this devastating pandemic.”

McKoy echoed her call on taxes.

“Unlike state budgets passed during the last economic downturn, this proposal recognizes that New Jersey must balance revenue shortfalls by ensuring wealthy individuals and big corporations pay closer to their fair share in taxes,” he said. “Every dollar raised through new revenue is a dollar we don’t have to cut or borrow. These revenue streams will set a strong foundation for a stable recovery, as they provide the state with resources to keep the economy afloat and deliver critical relief to families and small businesses in need.”

Hetty Rosenstein, the state director of the Communications Workers of America, said Murphy’s budget address reaches all in need.

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Hetty Rosenstein.

“The governor struck precisely the right tone in these troubled times — whether it’s his call for fair taxes, the full pension payment, Baby Bonds or much-needed investments in a green economy, child care, housing and racial justice,” she said “Dealing with COVID-19 and the pandemic’s resulting economic turmoil desperately requires sound economic-and-science based leadership from both the federal and state government.”

Rosenstein praised Murphy — and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. She compared both to former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Gov. Murphy — much like Vice President Joe Biden — is following the path of FDR by focusing on the needs of working families, rather than speaking in knee-jerk, cookie-cutter austerity gibberish that protects multimillionaires and corporations, while implementing cuts to families, children, seniors and services,” she said. “That is the last thing New Jersey needs at this critical moment in history.”

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