Public Administration

Murphy Announces Draft Budget for Upcoming Fiscal Year – On Feb. 27, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a draft of a $55.9 billion budget for the 2025 fiscal year. The proposal now faces review by the full state legislature, which must approve a budget by the start date of the fiscal year, July 1, 2024. Here are some of the main takeaways of the proposal: 

  • Corporate Transit Fee: The new budget includes a 2.5% marginal tax on all income earned by businesses making more than $10 million in annual net income, to replace the recently expired corporate business tax surcharge which charged businesses making over $1 million annually a 2.5% surcharge. The proposed fee is expected to raise $818 million annually from 600 businesses.
  • Funding for NJ Transit: Revenue from the corporate transit fee would, by statute, be allocated to NJ Transit, which faces a $900 million fiscal cliff in the fiscal year starting in July 2026. Future governors or legislatures could redirect the funding. 
  • StayNJ at Risk: A reduced budget surplus puts at risk the StayNJ property tax relief program, which aims to reduce senior citizens’ tax bills by half. According to the legislation creating the program, payouts may continue only if the state holds a budget surplus of 12% of its annual spending. 
  • Funding for Tax Relief: The budget maintains funding for ANCHOR and Senior Freeze property tax relief and child tax credit programs and funds for the first time the RetireReady NJ retirement savings program, allocating a total of $3.5 billion for tax relief.
  • Full Funding of Pension System: The budget will pay $7 billion to the state’s pension system, maintaining full funding of the program for the fourth consecutive year after 25 years of underfunding.
  • School Aid Increase: The budget would bring NJ’s school funding formula to its full funding level for the first time in its history by increasing aid by over $900 million to $11.7 billion. Though 420 districts will see an increase in state aid from the previous fiscal year, 140 will see cuts. Proposed legislation would address funding gaps for these districts through increasing caps on property tax hikes.
  • Doubled Funding for Arrive Together: The proposal increases funding from $10 million to $20 million for Arrive Together, a program which pairs mental healthcare workers with police officers responding to mental health emergency calls.
  • Doubles Gun Permit Costs: The proposal aims to augment revenue from gun sales by millions of dollars annually, bumping fees for purchaser identifications and permits, carry permits, background checks, licenses for dealer employees, retail dealers, manufacturers, and wholesalers. 
  • State Parks to Charge Fees: After a two-year tax holiday, state parks such as Island Beach State Park will resume charging fees for entrance.
  • Funding for Family Connects NJ: The proposal allocates $20 million for Family Connects NJ, a nurse home-visitation program for new mothers. The funding will go to support the program in the five counties where it operates currently and expand it to six additional counties.

A.G. Platkin Finds Gun Microstamping Viable, Mandating Sales of Microstamping-Enabled Guns – In 2022, Gov. Murphy signed legislation (P.L.2022, c.57) mandating firearm retailers to sell guns which can perform microstamping, a technology which enables forensic identification of a gun owner through the lasering of identifying marks when a gun is fired. A report released on Feb. 28 by Attorney General Platkin found the technology viable. Now, gun makers may apply to join a microstamping roster, and gun sellers will be required to stock at least one gun approved by the Attorney General’s office. 




Paterson Looks to Expand Guaranteed Income Program – Paterson, NJ is looking to expand its guaranteed-income pilot program in which participants receive $400 monthly for 12 months, with no strings attached. The program began with 110 participants and expanded to 200 in December using funds from the American Rescue Plan. Following research asserting the program’s positive food security and financial resilience outcomes, the city hopes to expand the program to 500 participants through state support. A3277, pending in the Assembly Labor Committee, would establish guaranteed income pilot programs in other NJ cities.



New Jersey to Receive $33 Million From EPA for Superfund Cleanup – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will distribute $1 billion nationwide for toxic waste cleanup, the third and final distribution of funding enabled through the 2021 infrastructure law signed by President Biden. The EPA will allocate $33 million to NJ for the cleanup of NJ superfund sites, including around $30 million to the Matlack, Inc. site in Woolwich, which was used for decades to clean trucks and tankers carrying hazardous substances, as well as smaller amounts to the Raritan Bay Slag site in Old Bridge and Sayreville and the Roebling Steel Company site in Florence.



Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike Tolls Increased on March 1 – On March 1, 2024, tolls on the Garden State Parkway and the NJ Turnpike increased by 3%, the third increase since 2020. The average toll paid will increase by 15 cents on the Turnpike and 5 cents on the Parkway, increasing the average daily commuter’s annual toll expenditures by $78.

Bill Would Allow Cops to Require Blood Tests of Drivers Suspected of Driving Under Influence of Marijuana – Sen. Shirley Turner of Mercer County introduced on Feb. 22 S2805, which would empower police to require a blood sample of drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. The proposed legislation would expand the “implied consent” law: anyone driving in NJ is considered to consent to a breathalyzer test if police suspect they are driving under the influence. The legislation attempts to address the sharp increase of drug-impaired driving in the state, but critics argue that the proposed testing method does not work and that the law would be enforced disproportionately against people of color.