Budget Positions State for Strong Economic Recovery and Long-Term Growth with Relief Expansions, New Capital Investments, and Debt Payoff Strategy
(TRENTON) – Following introduction of the Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget Monday, Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex), Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) and Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex) lauded the State spending plan, which includes significant tax relief expansions, new capital investments, and debt payoff, as both responsible and fair.
“Supported by strong State revenue collections, this budget enables us to build on and expand our state’s funding priorities in a fiscally sound manner,” said Speaker Coughlin. “While prioritizing taxpayers and getting relief to those needing it most, we’re also positioning our economy for even stronger recovery and growth.”
Due to an agreement reached by the Governor and Legislature last fall, over 760,000 New Jersey families will receive up to $500 in tax rebates over the summer. Updates to the Homestead Benefit program will also increase seniors and more vulnerable homeowners’ average property tax credit by $130 to $145.
“This budget makes huge investments for our working families,” said Majority Leader Greenwald. “It renews state commitments to our seniors and most vulnerable, funding direct property tax relief programs for homeowners and making a record contribution to our pension system. Cost-savings created under this budget, and its investment in education and healthcare affordability, will generate better social and economic well-being for all our residents.”
For the first time in 25 years, the budget will fully fund the State’s pension system with a $6.4 billion payment and additional $505 million boost payment. To help make New Jersey more affordable for retirees, the retirement income tax exclusion cliff will be raised to allow another 69,000 residents in the $100,000 to $125,000 and $125,000 to $150,000 income brackets to benefit from the deduction.
Another $37 million in direct aid will support higher education through the Tuition Assistance Grants and the Educational Opportunity Fund, and new tax savings for college expenses will be generated for families making up to $200,000.
“Through the combined spending and savings generated in this budget, we are producing a balanced budget that will support New Jersey’s priorities not just through this year but beyond,” said Assemblywoman Pintor Marin. “It includes a plan for responsible use of the one-time federal aid we received, creating support for individuals and communities made most vulnerable by the pandemic. By offsetting debt risk without raising taxes, we are ensuring New Jersey fulfills its responsibility to produce a fair and robust expenditure plan.”
The budget makes use of a portion of the $6.5 billion in federal relief provided to the State under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). Investments include $100 million to support childcare services helping parents get back to work, $450 million for public health infrastructure, and $180 million for HVAC improvements in schools.
The budget also includes language to give the Legislature more control over the spending of ARP funds. Joint Budget Oversight Committee approval is required for the vast majority of ARP appropriations.