Press Release

Costly Corporate Tax Cuts Overshadow and Threaten Good Budget Investments

Statements on the state budget, Child Tax Credit expansion, elimination of public defender fees, and the cancellation of medical debt.

Published on Jun 30, 2023 in Tax and Budget

Today, the New Jersey Legislature voted on more than 200 bills, including the $54.3 billion budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. The budget document was hastily written and approved Wednesday night, a mere minutes before triggering a state shutdown and without bill text available or an opportunity for the public to comment. Full of errors, omissions, and miscalculations, the budget will likely require “clean-up” legislation in the coming weeks. In response to the budget passing, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) releases the following statements.

On the lack of transparency and regressive tax cuts:

“It’s hard to evaluate this budget when it’s riddled with errors and needs to be corrected,” said Nicole Rodriguez, President of NJPP. “What we do know is that an overall lack of transparency rewarded big corporations and special interests at the expense of everyday New Jerseyans. With record revenues and a chance to make generational investments in the state, lawmakers prioritized a $1 billion corporate tax cut and hundreds of millions of dollars to Hollywood studios and real estate developers. Make no mistake, there are great investments in the budget worth celebrating, but they pale in size and scope to the tax cuts and credits given to the wealthy and well-connected. When corporations and wealthy households are allowed to skirt the tax system and do not pay what they owe, that leaves less funding for our schools, mass transit, and other public goods we all rely on. These short-sighted tax cuts threaten the future of New Jersey, especially as federal aid expires.”

On the doubling of the Child Tax Credit to a $1,000 max credit:

“The expanded Child Tax Credit will help more working-class families meet the high cost of living by putting cash back in their pockets,” said Peter Chen, Senior Policy Analyst at NJPP and author of a report on the benefits of an expanded Child Tax Credit. “Doubling the credit amount will help young children get the healthy and safe start they need to reach their full potential. Right now, one in ten children lives in poverty, despite New Jersey being one of the wealthiest states in the nation. Expanding the Child Tax Credit puts the state on a path to ending child poverty for good.”

On the elimination of public defenders’ fees:

“This is a huge win for the people of New Jersey that will move the constitutional right to an attorney out from behind a paywall,” said Marleina Ubel, Policy Analyst at NJPP and author of a 2022 report detailing the high cost of “free” legal representation. “New Jersey is one step closer to ensuring that justice is accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status.”

On the raid of the Clean Energy Fund:

“Lawmakers ignored environmental advocates, labor leaders, and sound research yet again,” said Alex Ambrose, Policy Analyst at NJPP and author of a report detailing the cumulative raids of the Clean Energy Fund. “Instead of using the Clean Energy Fund as intended, lawmakers continue a fourteen-year tradition of raiding the fund to plug unrelated budget holes. The Fund has now been raided by more than $2 billion since 2010, leaving behind those most vulnerable to the climate crisis and undermining the state’s own clean energy goals.”

On the cancellation of medical debt:

“Canceling medical debt will make New Jersey a leader in addressing the devastating challenges of our complex and broken health care system,” said Brittany Holom-Trundy, Senior Policy Analyst at NJPP. “Medical debt is a significant driver of the racial wealth gap and acts as an obstacle for far too many residents in getting the care they need. Uninsured and underinsured residents are more likely to have crushing debt and often avoid seeking necessary medical care as a result. Lawmakers should keep the momentum going and follow this up with policies addressing the structural issues in the health system that cause debt in the first place.”