Western New Jersey

New Jersey governor's budget plan already making waves

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is out with his first budget and it's already making waves.

The plan makes a push for increasing contributions to public education, legalizing recreational marijuana and raising the state sales tax.

The first of at least four budgets Gov. Murphy will unveil calls for $37.4 billion in spending.

"This budget meets the standards by which we will build a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for all of our residents," added Murphy.

The budget is close to $3 billion higher than former Gov. Chris Christie's final spending plan.

Murphy is calling for a number of measures that will raise additional funds, including increasing the state sales tax to 7 percent and enacting a millionaire's tax.

Those making over $1 million would be taxed 10.75 percent, up from the current rate of just under 9 percent.

Another possibly more controversial revenue stream will be the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults.

Some lawmakers have proposed decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, but Murphy says the state needs to carefully legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana sales.

Murphy feels the move would also free up millions spent on prosecuting people for minor drug crimes.

"Legalization will allow us to reinvest directly in our communities, especially the urban neighborhoods hardest hit by the misguided war on drugs," said Murphy.

Republican lawmakers are already taking issue with the plan, saying raising the sales tax will hurt all New Jersey residents.

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