While New Jersey narrowly avoided a second straight government shutdown, the budget agreement that was achieved at the last minute will have a serious impact on area taxpayers that will be felt for years to come.

As a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, I participated in a number of meetings and listened to hours of testimony on Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget that sought to increase spending by more than 7 percent and raise taxes by $1.7 billion. Gov. Murphy and the Democrat majority in the Legislature then spent much of the spring and early part of summer arguing over which of our taxes to raise.

Gov. Murphy’s first budget represents the tax-and-spend insanity that is devastating our state’s beleaguered taxpayers.

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Never, it seems, did they consider reducing government spending nor did the conversation appear to focus on reducing the burden on some of the most overtaxed citizens in the country. In fact, during the debate, serious consideration was given to additional tax hikes, including proposals to increase the realty transfer fee and add taxes to short-term home rentals — two ideas that would have dramatically impacted Monmouth and Ocean County residents.

An 11th hour compromise between Murphy and the Democrat leadership resulted in the passage of a budget that gives New Jersey the second highest corporate tax rate in the country while raising or imposing taxes on a variety of items and services, including Uber and Lyft rides, home-sharing services like Airbnb, online purchases and plastic shopping bags.

By adding all of these new taxes on top of our highest-in-the-nation property taxes, it’s no surprise that many of our friends, family members and neighbors are considering leaving or have already left New Jersey for more affordable locations like Delaware, Florida or the Carolinas. 

Gov. Murphy’s first budget represents the tax-and-spend insanity that is devastating our state’s beleaguered taxpayers.  I urge the area’s fed-up taxpayers to join me in letting Murphy and the legislative leaders in Trenton know that we desperately need tax relief and not more spending and higher taxes that will force more residents to flee our increasingly unaffordable state.

State Assemblyman Edward H. “Ned” Thomson represents the 30th District, which includes Belmar and Lake Como.