Governor Murphy Delivers State of the State Address
Today, Governor Phil Murphy delivered his 2023 State of the State address. This marks the first time in three years that the speech was given in person as the last two addresses were virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his speech, Governor Murphy announced plans to overhaul New Jersey’s antiquated liquor laws, something that has been a long-sought League priority, asking for the legislators “partnership in rewriting our liquor license laws to make them not just modern, but fair. The old rules have purposely created market scarcity and driven up costs to the point where a liquor license can draw seven figures.”
The Governor’s proposed reforms include relaxing the population limit over the next few years until it is eventually eliminated altogether, along with the relaxation of licensing and operating restrictions on craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Under current law the number of liquor licenses allowed to be issued by municipalities is limited to just one for every 3,000 residents. In addition, the Governor’s proposal would seek to provide tax credits to businesses that have already invested in a license.
Governor Murphy also announced the extension of the deadline to apply for property tax relief through the ANCHOR property tax relief program by another month. Homeowners and renters will now have until February 28 to apply for the rebate. The state had previously extended the deadline from December 30 to Jan 31.
In addition, he touched upon his Fiscal Year 2024 proposed budget noting plans to include a new “Boardwalk Fund” to help make upgrades to Shore towns. Funding and distribution details were not addressed.
The Governor also highlighted the need to continue the state’s work to make our residents feel safer in their communities. Among the efforts the Governor noted were measures taken to address car thefts. The Governor noted that the administration has grown the State Police Auto Theft Task Force, permitted police pursuits of stolen vehicles, and earmarked $10 million from American Rescue Plan funds to purchase and install automated license plate recognition technologies for local police to better track and trace not just stolen vehicles, but those being used to shuttle would-be car thieves into targeted neighborhoods. The Governor asked the legislature to pass the package of auto theft legislation to tighten the laws against car thefts.
The Governor’s address did not address the 22% increase in costs for those municipalities that participate in the State Health Benefits Program. While conversations are ongoing, the issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible to minimize budgetary and revenue issues.
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