The New Jersey Senate Republican members of the Budget & Appropriation Committee — Jennifer Beck, Steven Oroho, Kevin O’Toole and Sam Thompson — joined in support of options to avoid $1.7 billion in tax and fee increases proposed for the FY15 New Jersey state budget.
“We oppose the Senate Democrats plan to raise taxes by $1.6 billion. It is not a workable plan for the people of New Jersey, and for similar reasons, we oppose $137 million in tax and fee increases proposed in the governor’s budget and supported by Senate Democrats.
“The federal tax increases on families and small business owners have already caused a state revenue shortfall, to the detriment of New Jersey’s workforce. The Senate Democrats’ proposal to raise taxes by $1.6 billion will damage our economic viability regionally, nationally and internationally.
“We hope to work with our colleagues from across the aisle on budget alternatives that will work for the entire state. We support the alternatives laid out yesterday by Senators Kean and Bucco, and hope that negotiations move toward getting them done, away from increasing costs on our residents.”
Senate Republicans back FY15 budget alternatives to eliminate and cover the cost of cutting $137 million in proposed tax and fee hikes, by:
- Eliminating all 23 proposed fee increases;
- Eliminating the proposed UEZ tax increase, because of the negative impact they would have on urban small businesses and the workforce; and
- Eliminating the proposed tax on electronic cigarettes, to avoid stymieing an emerging industry and the jobs and other revenues that it could generate for New Jerseyans.
The elimination of these tax and fee increases would be done by making the following tough choices to reduce increases and reprioritize spending in the proposed budget:
· Reduce by $25 million the proposed increase to University Hospital;
· Reduce by $2 million the proposed increase for new Essex County crime prevention initiative;
· Reduce by $2 million the proposed increase for Essex County jail substance abuse program;
· Shift $6.4 million from clean energy fund to the general fund;
· Reduce by $82 million the $125 million proposed increase to the Department of Human Services by delaying for one year the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to managed care delivery for Medicaid institutional long-term services;
· Reduce by $11.1 million the proposed increase to the Department of Education for administrators to implement new state assessments, because Senate Republicans are confident that the DOE has already laid the groundwork and has the capability to implement a successful new state assessment system; and
· Reduce consolidation implementation funds by $8.5 million; Senate Republicans support local consolidations and shared services that should still be done by local government entities for the benefit of property taxpayers.