NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With a showdown on the state budget looming just 22 days away, Gov. Phil Murphy today re-emphasized his call for a tax on the state’s wealthiest households while hoping to avoid another shutdown of state government.
“Do I still want a millionaire’s tax? The answer is ‘yes,’ “ Murphy said at a press conference at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
Fielding reporters questions on several topics, Murphy refused to say when he would sign a bill that the state legislature passed Thursday approving sports betting in the state.
Reminded of the current major weekend in sports, with the Yankees and Mets teams in a subway series and the final leg in horsing racing’s triple crown on Saturday, Murphy refused to give a timeline for signing the bill.
“I think the key is doing it right,” Murphy said. “We’re not sitting (on the bill), but I’m not going to change my stripes because it’s a big sports weekend,” he said. “I want sports betting. I want to make the first bet.”
Murphy spoke to reporters after addressing a conference sponsored by the Apprenticeship Forward Collaboration, a network of regional and national organization seeking expansion of apprenticeships in the country.
At the conference in the Heldrich Center, the governor announced details of his proposed New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, including creation of an office for the network in the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and focusing on the sectors of clean energy, advance manufacturing, health care and IT and software.
Murphy’s first proposed state budget includes $10 million for the network.
At the press conference, Murphy acknowledged the current battle with the state Legislature over the proposed fiscal '19 budget, but said he is hopeful it can be settled before the June 30 deadline so a shutdown of the state can be avoided.
Murphy has proposed a tax on the state’s millionaires and increasing the state sales 6.625 percent to 7 percent, once again, to fully fund schools.
State Senate President Steven Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has introduced his own school funding plan and vows to shut down the government if a plan to fully fund schools in not in place.
Murphy, who earlier this month ordered all state departments to make contingency plans in the event of a shut down, said Friday that he wants a state budget that is responsible and takes the burden off the middle class.
When asked about bills introduced in the state Legislature on Thursday to expand the use of medical marijuana and legalize the recreational use of drug, Murphy outlined concerns about suddenly permitting uses of the drug for which people can currently be arrested and charged with a crime.
“We can’t accept a change that would make it legal for somebody to do something on a Monday that was illegal to do the previous Friday,” he said.