A millionaires’ tax, legal marijuana and a higher minimum wage could all be in store in the new year as Democrats prepare to take over government in New Jersey.
Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Jan. 16. That will give Democrats control of the governor’s office and the Legislature, a change that will lead to a different direction in state government.
Murphy has promised to hike taxes on those making over $1 million to finance pensions and schools. Murphy has also promised a $15 minimum wage, which Christie has vetoed.
A closer look at what’s in store for Murphy and the Democrat-led Legislature in 2018.
MURPHY’S FIRST BUDGET
Murphy will inherit the second half of Christie fiscal 2018 budget, which expires on June 30, and will have little time before he has to introduce his own spending blueprint. The budget, which is about $35 billion this year, will give voters an early opportunity to gauge whether Murphy is keeping his campaign promises.
Murphy promised to fully fund pensions and school aid, though he has also suggested he would consider phasing in those payments. Fully funding the pension would require roughly doubling this year’s $2.5 billion payment. School aid is estimated at roughly $1 billion beyond what Christie has spent annually.
Christie has poured cash into the pension though state payments remain below the level actuaries recommend. He has also declined to fund schools according to legislation enacted in 2008.
Murphy has promised raising income taxes on millionaires and closing corporate tax loopholes as a way to pay for the increased funding, though it’s not clear the tax increases will cover the new spending.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, has also questioned whether the millionaires’ tax hike should go forward in light of the