NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy told a room of 300 community advocates that he will continue to push his agenda for what he has called “tax fairness” to help fund social programs such as New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Murphy made the comments during a ceremony in which he was awarded the Trenton-based Community Development Champion award by the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.

The group’s president, Staci Berger, praised Murphy for becoming the first governor in a decade to fully fund the housing trust fund, which provides municipalities, nonprofit organizations and for-profit developers with financial assistance to develop affordable housing.

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Murphy connected the challenges in funding the program – as well as statewide issues as soaring property tax rates and state pension shortfalls - to policies enacted and enforced by former Gov. Chris Christie and championed by Senate President/political foil Stephen Sweeney.

Murphy talked about how the so-called Millionaires Tax – a tax that was ended by the Christie Administration – would have cumulatively generated $4 billion for the state over the past decade.

Similarly, Murphy cited the state sales tax cut from 7% to 6.625% enacted three years ago has cost New Jersey taxpayers billions of dollars.

Investment in programs such as the New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund doesn’t just help those who striving to join the middle class, but it also stimulates the economy, Murphy told the room of community development practitioners, housing advocates, private sector partners and public officials.

Berger said network members have been making investments that improve the quality of neighborhoods, producing the homes and jobs New Jersey needs to thrive.

“Now that the Trust Fund is being used as intended,” she said, “we can make New Jersey a place we can all afford to call home.”

The City of New Brunswick was also honored during Friday’s program at the Hyatt Regency. The Outstand Municipal Partner Award for Healthy Homes was presented to the city and the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative.

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is a statewide association of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support “the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities and strong communities.”