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Gov. Murphy signs $50.6 billion budget Appropriations Act into law

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) Appropriations Act into law. The act puts a $50.6 billion budget in place to fund New Jersey’s operations from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

Murphy signed the Appropriations Act into law on June 30.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the budget once again provides the highest level of school funding in history as the state continues to deliver on a seven-year plan to fully implement the school funding formula; makes a second consecutive full pension payment for the first time in more than 25 years; and supports significant investments in the economy.

“This budget both invests in New Jersey’s future while preparing for an uncertain global economy,” Murphy was quoted as saying in the press release. “We have wisely avoided using what may be temporary windfalls for long-term programs.

“At the same time, we are making significant investments in new capital projects that will make New Jersey a better state to live in while creating countless good-paying jobs. This budget continues to make New Jersey a stronger and more affordable state where opportunity can thrive,” Murphy said.

The $50.6 billion budget for FY2023 includes a record $6.8 billion surplus, which is 13.4% of budgeted appropriations, roughly three times the surplus proposed in the FY2022 budget and dwarfing the surplus inherited four years ago, according to the press release.

The budget makes a $6.82 billion pension payment, including contributions from the state lottery, which marks the second consecutive year the state will meet 100% of the Actuarially Determined Contribution (ADC). With the proposed FY2023 payment, the Murphy Administration will be responsible for nearly 68% of state pension contributions since FY1995, according to the press release.

The budget agreement also builds upon the sizable debt reduction efforts undertaken in FY2022 by making an additional $5.15 billion deposit into the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund to support capital construction on a pay-as-you-go basis and avoid future debt issuances.

Cumulatively over the past fiscal year, the state has now put $8.9 billion toward reducing current debt and avoiding new debt, saving the state billions in interest payments, according to the press release.

The FY2023 budget includes investments to make New Jersey more affordable, chief among them being the $2 billion ANCHOR – the Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters – property tax relief program.

ANCHOR replaces the previous Homestead Benefit program and will provide relief to more than 1.15 million homeowners – double the amount under Homestead – and more than 900,000 renters, all of whom are currently excluded from the Homestead Benefit, according to the press release.

For a middle class family receiving $1,500 in ANCHOR relief, the average property tax burden will be reduced to a level not seen since 2012.

Under the agreement forged with legislative leadership, benefits will be fully phased-in immediately, rather than over three years, and simplified so checks may be mailed sooner, according to the press release.

The budget creates a new Child Tax Credit (CTC) for families making up to $80,000 a year, bolstering the administration’s suite of financial support policies aimed at assisting families, such as the expanded Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and significant early childhood investments.

The new credit makes New Jersey one of only 11 states to build upon the federal CTC for qualifying families and includes taxpayers without Social Security numbers who use individual tax identification numbers, according to the press release.

The FY2023 budget also helps offset property taxes by including a one-time $75 million boost in aid to towns through a Municipal Relief Fund.

According to Murphy’s office, the FY2023 budget continues to make historic investments in public education, with an additional $650 million in K-12 formula aid for a total of $9.9 billion in FY2023.

The budget includes additional facilities funding of $75 million for every school district for maintenance and emergent projects, and $10 million for charter and renaissance school facilities.

The budget also advances Murphy’s goal of universal pre-K with an additional $68 million for Preschool Education Aid, $40 million of which will go toward new districts, creating almost 3,000 more seats for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds.

Since 2018, the Murphy Administration has increased pre-K spending by more than $310 million and created nearly 9,000 new seats, according to the press release.

The budget includes $305 million to create thousands of new 100% affordable housing units through the Affordable Housing Production Fund.

And, the budget includes significant investments to combat climate change, including nearly $30 million to meet the Electric Vehicle Act’s mandate of a 100% electric state fleet by 2035 and funding for a new grant program to support the implementation of the country’s first-in-the-nation climate change education standards, according to the press release.

According to the Governor’s Office, the FY2023 budget includes nearly $20 million in state and federal funds to implement the Statewide Universal Newborn Home Nurse Visitation program Murphy enacted in July 2021.

As part of the First Lady’s Nurture NJ initiative, the budget also includes $15 million in state funding to raise Medicaid rates for maternity care providers, as well as funds for midwifery education and Connecting NJ Hubs to support families with young children.

The budget also funds a sizable anti-hunger package which will increase funding for emergency feeding organizations by $65 million and provide $18 million to create a minimum SNAP payment that will help nearly 50,000 households.

The budget also includes funding for a mental health package that establishes a statewide behavioral health crisis system of care – including the 988 mental health crises and suicide prevention hotline.

The budget allocates more than $50 million in federal funding to strengthen youth mental health supports through an interagency effort to improve access to services, increase awareness and resilience-building, and provide peer supports, professional development, and training, for mental health in communities, in schools and on college campuses, according to the press release.

And, the budget invests $300 million in American Rescue Plan federal dollars to make investments in critical water infrastructure upgrades.

The Water Infrastructure Fund, to be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection, will create thousands of additional engineering and construction jobs, ensure that underserved communities can benefit from the once-in-a-generation investment, reduce the costs of mandatory water infrastructure upgrades for families and encourage shared services, according to the press release.

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