Education Highlights From Gov. Murphy’s Budget Address

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This morning Governor Phil Murphy delivered his budget address from the 50-yard line at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium in Piscataway. His proposal calls for annual state spending of $32.4 billion from October to June 2021, not as much as a cut from last year’s $38.7 billion budget as it appears: this is a nine-month budget instead a twelve-month one. Four billion would come from a loan, which would leave New Jersey with a $2.2 billion surplus (which we’ll need). Murphy would raise taxes for millionaires, cigarettes,  guns, and corporations. It restores funding to property tax relief programs and gives each newborn child a $1,000 savings bond if parents earn less than $133,000 a year. And it commits to a full pension payment for 2020-2021 based on the ramp-up set up by former Gov. Chris Christie.

Here’s what Murphy said about education.

We are supporting our colleges and universities with $150 million to help defray the costs they have incurred in responding to this pandemic, and to ensure that high-quality learning and rich engagement are not sacrificed.

And, we are committing over $50 million to our public and non-public schools to help bridge the digital divide.

Before this public health crisis, we made a clear and unmistakable start on building a stronger and fairer New Jersey that reaches deep into every corner of our state to lift up those who had been overlooked for far too long. 

Over the previous two years, working with our legislative colleagues, investments in our public schools and pre-K were up.

Yes, some spending cuts are absolutely necessary in the face of this crisis, and, yes some of them will hurt.

I asked every department to dig deep to find cuts and efficiencies.

Yet, I also directed that they preserve, to the best of their ability, the core and essential services that millions of our residents rely upon every single day. The economic fallout from the pandemic is a reason to be smart about our finances – it is not an excuse to go backwards.

The members of my Cabinet – the women and men who lead our state agencies – did remarkable work in finding a total of $1.2 billion smart spending reductions.

This budget generates real and substantial savings through collectively bargained furloughs and health-benefit reforms, and maintains our commitment to making the full pension payment announced in February.

Making this pension payment is good news for everyone in our state because it moves us down the long road to fiscal responsibility.

With these resources available to us, we can preserve our record-setting investments in school aid and continue to expand pre-K, and we can ensure districts have the resources needed to ensure a safe school reopening – and we can protect property taxpayers.

We must also recognize that, for a majority of our students, remote learning will be part of their day – whether in-part or in-full. And, with this will come new burdens on parents who don’t have the ability, or privilege, to provide adequate supervision during times of remote study. 

So, this budget comes with a promise to these families and students.

We will invest up to $250 million to support our schools in opening more fully for these students …

… to provide subsidies to child-care centers so that more of them can reopen …

… and to expand direct subsidies to families so more of them can afford child care.

And, we will maintain the child care tax credit we established in 2018.

For the full transcript, click here.

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