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Local Officials Claim State Budget Loaded With Tax Hikes, Pet Projects for Democrats

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State Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin, all R-Ocean, said that in addition to $1.5 billion in tax hikes on middle class families and businesses, Gov. Phil Murphy has padded the state’s new budget with millions in pet projects for Democrat initiatives.

“During the entire budget negotiation process Democrats never discussed spending cuts. Not once,” said Holzapfel. “They fought over which taxes they wanted to increase, and now that the budget has been signed we are seeing for the first time millions of dollars earmarked for Democrat pet projects. The people of New Jersey and my district cannot afford these handouts.”

The $37.4 billion budget is a 7.8 percent spending increase over last year. The $2.7 billion boost in spending is supported by 10 tax hikes totaling $1.5 billion. Also included is funding for the following Democrat projects: $2.1 million for legal assistance to undocumented immigrants facing deportation; $400,000 for a Newark library collaborative; $3 million for the Newark, Trenton and Paterson summer program; $4 million for Essex County park improvements; $3 million for the Perth Amboy Proprietary House Association; $750,000 for the South Amboy ferry project, and $1.5 million for Woodbridge recreation facilities.

“It’s Christmas in July once again in Trenton,” said Wolfe. “The governor is handing out expensive gifts for a number of Democrat interests at the expense of suburban taxpayers. Among other things, he’s spending $2.1 million on legal aid for undocumented immigrants facing deportation while massively underfunding our schools in Brick and Toms River. What a kick in the teeth to our law-abiding taxpayers, students and teachers. It’s utterly irresponsible and unconscionable.”

“For months the governor indicated New Jersey has a revenue problem and that’s why his tax hikes were needed,” said McGuckin. “Clearly, we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Just look at the list of his pork barrel projects. Spending cuts were never discussed. The only cuts Trenton Democrats are making are to schools in our district and other Jersey Shore districts, which have always been underfunded. The additional decreased aid will send property taxes soaring. This tax and spend plan is a disaster for our area.”

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