Governor, lawmakers inching toward New Jersey budget deal

Senate President Steve Sweeney, (right), D-Gloucester, listens as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks in the Assembly chamber of the Statehouse in Trenton. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, File)

Senate President Steve Sweeney, (right), D-Gloucester, listens as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks in the Assembly chamber of the Statehouse in Trenton. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, File)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leaders still haven’t struck a deal for a new state budget, but the governor is offering to compromise to get the sustainable revenues he’s insisting on.

In a letter to lawmakers, Murphy proposed a modified corporate business tax surcharge; a small hike in the marginal tax rate on personal income over a million dollars; and gradually raising the sales tax rate back to 7 percent over two years.

He’s also prepared to accept additional compromises from the Legislature including proposals to restore the Homestead Rebate to its prior level and a one-time tax amnesty program.

Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll said that, as a member of the minority party in the Legislature, he’s not involved in the budget talks.

Still, he said he has an idea of what might happen.

“I imagine, at some point, what will happen is all the three warring parties will get together and adopt a budget which combines the worst elements in both plans,” said Carroll, R-Morris.

Murphy said all options are on the table — including a state government shutdown if a budget is not enacted by the Saturday deadline.

“Until we break this crazed fever of kicking the can down the road, gimmicks, phantom revenue, phantom savings, all options are on the table,” he said Tuesday. “And, sadly, that includes shutting the state down.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin issued a joint statement saying they’re reviewing Murphy’s proposals and will give his offer full consideration along with other options they’re evaluating.

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