Murphy signs bill pushing budget speech to March 8

February 15, 2022 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy will unveil his fiscal 2023 budget on March 8 under a bill he signed Tuesday.

Murphy signed the measure delaying the annual budget address to the Legislature just a day after it reached his desk. He requested the extension in the hopes that COVID-19 trends in the state allow for the first in-person budget speech in two years.

For voters, the delayed speech means waiting longer to get a look at how Murphy plans to spend billions of dollars in federal aid, along with billions more in state taxpayer funds. It also means having to wait a bit longer to see whether the governor makes good on a pledge made during last year’s campaign not to raise taxes.

It will also be the first year that newly sworn-in Senate President Nicholas Scutari steers a budget through the Senate since he succeeded former Senate President Steve Sweeney. After a rough start, Sweeney and Murphy had begun to get along, but the governor’s relationship with Scutari is largely untested.

New Jersey’s fiscal year ends June 30, when lawmakers and the governor are constitutionally required to enact a balanced budget.

State law requires the governor to deliver the budget by the fourth Tuesday of February, but the date can be pushed back with new legislation.