13 things to know about NJ state budget racing toward approval

TRENTON – Lawmakers are meeting this afternoon to begin approving the New Jersey state budget for 2022, with the intention of delivering it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office on Thursday.

The text of the bill was not available on Tuesday morning, although on Monday evening the Legislative Services Office released a “tally sheet” of changes of Murphy’s original budget plan and a summary of changes to the budget language.

Here are a dozen things a baker should know about the Statehouse spending plan:

1. The budget appropriates $ 46.38 billion

This is up from the $ 44.8 billion forecast in February. Lawmakers are also expected to pass a bill adding nearly $ 115 million in spending to the current budget that is about to expire.

Expense increases include:

  • $ 6.5 million to the legislature;
  • $ 1.5 million in Murphy’s office;
  • $ 6 million in agriculture;
  • $ 15 million for children and families;
  • $ 134 million in community affairs;
  • $ 21 million in corrections;
  • $ 431 million in education;
  • $ 3 million in environmental protection;
  • $ 100 million in health;
  • $ 73 million in human services;
  • $ 5 million in work and workforce development;
  • $ 20 million in law and public safety;
  • $ 169 million in the state;
  • $ 39 million in transportation;
  • $ 268 million in cash;
  • $ 252 million in interdepartmental accounts;
  • $ 3.6 million in the court system.

2. Lots of Articles ‘Christmas tree’ are added

These are additional grants and programs added at the request of legislators. They include $ 300,000 to improve the terrain of the Franklin Township Little League; $ 500,000 for a band shell at Woolsey Park in Hopewell Township; $ 350,000 to restore Myrtle Charles Park in Metuchen; $ 10 million for the North Bergen School District to purchase a property; and $ 72,000 to Long Branch, Oceanport and Monmouth Beach to help support municipal cleanup of dead fish.

3. Tax collection for the coming year are projected at $ 42 billion

Republicans say the structural deficit could lead to tax increases within a year. It appears that in many cases, when the Treasury forecasts and those of the Legislative Services Office differ, the budget bill adopts the smaller projection.

4. Tap into the “rainy day fund”

Although the budget starts with a surplus of $ 10 billion, the state will nonetheless use $ 883 million of its “”funds for rainy days”Intended to hold unanticipated surplus income until a period of fiscal distress. But the fund – which starts the year with $ 2.2 billion and ends it with a projected $ 1.3 billion – was going to be drained entirely from Murphy’s original budget, so it’s partially protected.

5. Budget surplus

The state’s overall surplus at the end of the year on June 30, 2022 is estimated at nearly $ 5.8 billion. The unallocated surplus is $ 500 million, up from $ 4 billion at the start of the budget year. The surplus includes $ 3.7 billion invested in a Debt fund, including $ 2.5 billion to repay higher-cost debt and $ 1.2 billion to avoid future debt increases by covering the cost of capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis.

6. Money for NJ Transit

New Jersey TransitThe Agency’s operating budget will always depend on transfers from New Jersey’s clean energy programs and the agency’s capital budget. Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg D-Bergen is upset. But the affordable housing programs that were to be funded by the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will instead come from the general budget, at a cost of $ 57 million.

7. School funding

The budget keeps the forecast school aid cuts in about a third of districts, continuing the transition to the long-ignored school funding formula despite the tax windfall. An additional $ 100 million has been added for extraordinary assistance with special education spending, which is shared statewide.

8. Funding of pensions

the pension payment, already forecast at a record $ 6.4 billion to mark the first full contribution in more than two decades, increases by $ 505 million to about $ 6.9 billion. The government has lowered its assumption on the return on its investment assets each year and will drop it from 7.3% to 7% a year earlier than expected.

9. Tax breaks for retirees

A tax exemption on retirement income will be expanded to cover revenues between $ 100,000 and $ 150,000, in two additional installments. This will cover approximately 69,000 retirees.

10. Help for students and families

New tax savings for college fees will be available for families earning up to $ 200,000. The budget also adds an additional $ 37 million in direct assistance to students through Tuition Assistance Grants and the Educational Opportunities Fund.

11. Transport financing

An additional $ 75 million is included in the budget for local transport projects.

12. Money for hospitals

Charitable care funding to hospitals for their care of uninsured patients is increased by $ 40 million.

13. Aid to immigrants

The budget now includes $ 3 million for legal services for unaccompanied minors, an expansion of the state legal aid to immigrants facing deportation. But this does not include direct aid to “excluded workers” who were not eligible for stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.

Michael Symons is the State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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