Steve Sweeney

A week before New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposes his first state budget, the leader of the state Senate has unveiled a plan to raise taxes to provide more money for education.

Senate President Steve Sweeney wants to impose a tax surcharge on corporations that make more than a million dollars in profits in New Jersey.

He says that would raise about $657 million and be just a portion of the money those companies will save from changes in the federal tax code.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy could face an uphill battle getting the legislature to approve a tax surcharge on income over a million dollars.

Senate President Steve Sweeney had been an advocate of a millionaires’ tax, but now says it’s the last thing he wants to consider.

He’s backed away from his previous support of the idea because of recent federal tax code changes that limit state and local property tax deductions.

New Jersey lawmakers are delaying action on a bill calling for subsidies to Public Service Enterprise Group to keep nuclear plants open in Salem County.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says additions to the bill are making it worse for consumers. He says it could increase costs for ratepayers by more than $4 billion over the next ten years.

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says a salary increase for New Jersey judges and cabinet officers is long overdue. 

A measure to give them raises will be considered by the Senate Budget Committee on Monday.

The $141,000 salary for the governor’s cabinet members, hasn’t gone up in 16 years. Senate President Steve Sweeney's bill would raise it to $175,000.


Governor Phil Murphy is ordering the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement a law enacted eight years ago to encourage the development of offshore wind projects.

Regulations to implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and provide financial aid and tax credits to attract windmill developers stalled during the Christie administration.   

At the site of an onshore wind farm in Atlantic City, Governor Murphy signed an executive order to move ahead with the program.

NJEA for WBGO News

Chris Christie repeatedly blasted the New Jersey Education Association during his eight years as governor. The leader of the state’s largest teachers’ union and the new governor are indicating their relationship will be much different.  

Christie was a constant critic of the NJEA, calling it a political thuggery operation that rules by fear and intimidation. He claimed the union’s leaders put their own interests ahead of their members.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy might not be getting speedy approval from the New jersey legislature for some of his priorities.
Murphy wants to impose a tax surcharge on millionaires and use the money to increase funding for public schools.
Senate President Steve Sweeney says state lawmakers won’t rush to do that.  He’s forming a panel of economists and tax experts to study the impact of federal tax changes that limit the deductions for state and local taxes and consider possible tax reforms.

New Jersey Governor Christie spent most of the time in his final state-of-the-state speech highlighting the accomplishments of his eight-years in office.

Christie credited the Democratically controlled legislature for helping him control public employee pension costs, reign in property tax increases, restructure higher education, and make needed improvements in Atlantic City and Camden.

The leader of the New Jersey Senate says lawmakers will hold a hearing to examine insurance products being offering by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says he wants to make sure insurance companies aren’t making enormous profits at the expense of quality health care for consumers.

“Horizon dominates the market right now. They have more than 50% of the market and they’re coming out with another product to deal with Medicare. And we want to know the impacts of these products for consumers and hospitals.”

After a five-hour hearing on the measure, legislation that could impose a surcharge on electric customers to keep three nuclear plants open in South Jersey has been advanced by a joint Senate and Assembly committee.

Public Service Enterprise Group says the nuclear plants could become unprofitable in two years and be shut down.

Ratepayer advocate Stefanie Brand worries the legislation could cost ratepayers over $300 million a year. She says there’s no evidence to demonstrate subsidies are needed.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy says legislation to phase-in a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey will be a high priority when he takes office in January.

Murphy joined legislative leaders and labor officials at a Statehouse event where some workers said it's tough to get by on less than $15 an hour.

Sayerville resident Anthony Banos says he works at a warehousing distribution center and has a part-time job at a retail store.

In one of his first major speeches since winning the election, Governor-elect Phil Murphy told the League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City that New Jersey is poised to be the comeback story of the nation.

Murphy did not propose any new initiatives. He reemphasized his commitment to improving New Jersey’s economy, funding education, and investing more in the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“New Jersey Transit barely functions. I’m embarrassed by the service that we provide our customers.

With Democrats about to take full control in January, Republicans in the New Jersey legislature know that a higher minimum wage is not far off.

The top Republican in the state senate now wants to make sure that Democrats don’t go too far.  

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says the issue of affordability is the greatest challenge confronting New Jersey lawmakers and he’s calling for a bipartisan compromise.

Now that he’s won reelection, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says Democrats who control the legislature want to work with Governor-elect Phil Murphy to advance legislation they couldn’t get through during the Christie administration.  

Sweeney says Democrats’ plans include funding for women’s health care, expanding paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, and phasing in higher pension payments and more money for schools.

Five months before he was planning to retire, New Jersey State Senator Jim Whelan has died after suffering a heart attack at his Atlantic City home.

State officials are remembering him as a dedicated public servant.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says Whelan was a role model for lawmakers.

“He seemed to be able to be part of the team, be part of the unified effort, and yet signal out the things that were important to him even if it was going against the tide a bit. He was an eminently decent man, full of integrity.”

A new bipartisan legislative panel will look into addressing a shortage of middle-skilled workers in New Jersey.

Melanie Willoughby with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association says 80 percent of manufacturers in the nation have a serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production positions.

“This is not where we want to be with the manufacturing industry in New Jersey that is worth over $44 billion, paying an average salary of $90,450 without a BA.”

New Jersey's Senate has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to pay state workers for the days they were furloughed during the recent three-day government shutdown.

Chanting ‘It’s time of give us back our pay” unionized state employees rallied outside the Statehouse in Trenton in support of the measure they say will prevent them from losing money they depend on.

Senator Linda Greenstein says it's a moral obligation to get the measure to the governor's desk as quickly as possible.

The leaders of New jersey's legislature say state employees should not be penalized for the three-day government shutdown last week.

Senate President Steve Sweeney plans a Senate session Thursday to act on bipartisan legislation requiring the state to pay workers furloughed because of a delayed budget.

"It's just showing our intent for what we think is important. For the workers that should have been paid, this wasn't their fault that we had an impasse. We should pay them. It was in the budget. It's not like the money is not there."

Even though he has some concerns about it, Governor Christie says he’ll consider a school funding agreement hammered out by Democratic leaders in New Jersey's legislature.

The plan would provide an additional $100 million in the state budget for underfunded school districts and reallocate $46 million in so-called adjustment aid to districts with increasing student enrollment.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says it’s a good compromise.

Phil Gregory / WBGO

New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney is prioritizing special education as part of his school funding reform plan.

Sweeney says more funding for special needs programs in schools has been universally agreed upon by lawmakers and advocates during recent education hearings.  He believes families with special needs children are looked at unfairly in some communities.

Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory


Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”