Author: Courtney A. Johnson

Governor Murphy Presents His Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

Governor Murphy presented his Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget to a joint session of the State Legislature in a live address for the first time since February 2020. The proposed budget totals $48.9 billion – a $2.5 billion increase over the FY 2022 budget – and includes a $4.2 billion surplus, which is nearly double the surplus included in last year’s budget. The proposal does not include any new taxes or fees. In fact, the Governor’s spending plan includes a one-year fee holiday to waive fees typically assessed for driver’s license renewals, marriage licenses, state park entry, and license fee applications or renewals for roughly 130,000 professionals across the health care spectrum. The Governor themed his budget address around one word: Affordability. This became a key issue in the 2021 gubernatorial and legislative election, and is something both the Governor and legislative leaders identified as their priority for the current legislative session. The budget proposal looks to improve affordability in the State by addressing property taxes and access to housing. It appropriates $900 million for the Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR) Property Tax Relief Program, which proposes to provide property tax rebates to both homeowners and tenants. Additionally, the Governor’s budget allocates $300 million to the Affordable Housing Protection Fund to...

A Look at the 220th Legislature and Annual State of the State Address

On January 11, 2022, New Jersey began a new legislative session marked by the Legislature’s reorganization and the Governor’s State of the State Address. Legislative Reorganization Democrats retained control of both houses, albeit with much smaller margins after Republicans managed to win back several seats in the November elections. Democrats now hold a 24 to 16 majority in the Senate and a 46 to 34 majority in the General Assembly. The Senate has new leadership for the first time in twelve years, with Senator Nicholas Scutari of Union County being sworn in as the Senate President and Senator Teresa Ruiz of Essex County becoming the Senate Majority Leader. Senator Sandra Cunningham of Hudson County remains the Senate President Pro Tempore. Senator Steven Oroho of Sussex County is now the Republican Leader, replacing Tom Kean, Jr., who did not run for reelection in order to focus on his campaign for the 7th Congressional District. The Senate also welcomed five new members. Senators Jon Bramnick (R-21), Gordon Johnson (D-37), Jean Stanfield (R-8), and Andrew Zwicker (D-16) all previously served in the General Assembly. Senator Ed Durr (R-3) has not previously held elective office. In the Assembly, Craig Coughlin of Middlesex County and Louis Greenwald of Camden County will continue as Speaker and Majority Leader, respectively, for another...