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NJ Gov. Warns Against Austerity Budgeting In Speech

By James Nani · January 12, 2021, 5:41 PM EST

New Jersey's governor on Tuesday said during his annual State of the State speech that state leaders shouldn't look to make budget cuts or slash taxes despite the tough economic outlook caused by the pandemic.

Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said during his prerecorded speech that while previous New Jersey leaders had cut taxes on millionaires and cut services during the last economic downturn, he didn't believe such policies would help promote an economic recovery. Murphy pointed to the passage last year of increased taxes on millionaires, a top priority for him for years, and the passage of a larger earned income tax credit as progressive examples of policies that shouldn't be eliminated.

Murphy touted his record as he's recently obtained several major tax changes he's sought since he first took office in 2018. 

In September, Murphy signed bills to increase taxes on millionaires and businesses and to raise assessments on health maintenance organizations while approving the state's $32.7 billion budget. Last week, he signed a bill that will offer up to $14 billion in corporate tax incentives, replacing controversial incentive programs that expired after they were found to be riddled with oversight shortcomings.

Bills that would establish a regulated system for selling and taxing adult-use recreational cannabis and decriminalizing possession of up to 6 ounces of the drug await Murphy's signature.

--Additional reporting by Abraham Gross and Bill Wichert. Editing by Robert Rudinger.

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