Liquor, taxes, guns: Lots of questions after NJ's State of the State for 'Ask Governor Murphy'

Liquor, taxes, guns: Lots of questions after NJ’s State of the State for ‘Ask Governor Murphy’

“Ask Governor Murphy” — your likelihood to current questions to New Jersey’s governor dwell and on-air — returns at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

After Tuesday’s State of the State handle, we’ve acquired a lot of questions of our personal.

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What is going to you ask Governor Murphy?

The present is an hour lengthy, and we could not get to all of these, however listed below are some of the questions on our minds:

Rethinking liquor

The governor is proposing a serious overhaul of how New Jersey licenses bars and eating places that serve alcohol – one that might have a radical influence on some downtown economies, relying on the way it’s rolled out.

Presently, New Jersey restricts the quantity of liquor licenses a municipality can award — one per 3,000 residents. In communities with well-established downtowns – say, a Hoboken or Morristown – liquor licenses develop into sizzling commodities, as entrepreneurs promote them to 1 one other. They will price lots of of hundreds of {dollars}, typically even effectively over $1 million.

Murphy says that’s an antiquated system that harkens again to prohibition and hurts companies. He’s proposing a “gradual” elimination of the cap. The governor’s workplace despatched Gothamist a one-sheet breakdown Tuesday that fills in some particulars not addressed throughout the State of the State.

The governor’s workplace says it could section out the inhabitants cap over 5 years, taking the quantity down by 10% annually — so one license per 2,700 individuals in the first 12 months — earlier than eliminating it fully.

After that, no resale of licenses could be allowed. New licenses could be issued at “progressive prices,” with related charges primarily based on a enterprise’s measurement.

Murphy says municipalities will retain management – that new licenses will nonetheless be issued by native authorities, and native cities will have the ability to assess their very own charges to bolster income.

Dana Lancellotti, president of the NJ Restaurant and Hospitality Affiliation, says the state could be higher off specializing in 1,000 unused current licenses than including extra to the market. She’s nervous about the influence on these current license holders: “Adding more licenses to the marketplace will have a negative impact on these small businesses that have contributed so much to their communities over the years.”

We nonetheless have a lot of questions. Murphy says current license holders shall be supplied tax credit, however how a lot, and at what price to taxpayers? We wish to know if he can get the business on board, how he’d eating places and bars to use for licenses throughout the transition, and what legislators he’s working with.

Murphy additionally stated he sought to take away “outdated” licensing and working restrictions on craft breweries, distilleries and wineries — half a 12 months after the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Management started implementing restrictions on what number of occasions the companies can maintain, and stopping them from working with meals vans and related distributors to supply meals.

He’s proposing a brand new form of license for these varieties of companies, with out these limits.

There have already been lawmakers pushing for related measures, answering calls from breweries that say the restrictions have devastated them as they attempt to recuperate from the pandemic. We’ll wish to know if Murphy is getting on board with an current proposal, or if he’s constructed up a consensus with legislators already engaged on the difficulty.

ANCHOR rebates

In the information enterprise, there’s an expression: Don’t bury the lead. It means speaking about what’s vital up entrance. Murphy actually appeared to be pondering the similar as his handle acquired rolling, specializing in affordability and tax assist — for occasion, state investments in training the governor careworn translate to property tax aid at the native degree.

And he heralded his administration’s ANCHOR property tax rebate program, which may carry a family making $125,000 and paying a statewide common of $9,300 in property taxes $1,500 in a rebate — if the family applies.

However state officers say solely a bit of greater than half of the 2 million qualifying New Jersey residents have utilized to this point — and so Murphy introduced the state’s second extension of the program’s deadline, now moved from Jan. 31 to Feb. 28.

However with functions lagging, what else will the state do to get this $2 billion program again on monitor? How will it be sure that cash really makes it into residents’ arms?

Republican state Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblyman John DiMaio, in the official Republican response, additionally stated cash ought to be attending to candidates a lot quicker – inside 30 days (it’s slated to be distributed in the spring). They usually stated the state shouldn’t be counting on one-off gimmicks to offer taxpayers aid, however as an alternative transfer towards what they describe as a fairer tax code.

It’s unlikely Murphy and the Republicans will see eye to eye on what a fairer tax code seems to be like. However to their different level: What occurs when ANCHOR is a distant reminiscence and New Jersey taxes stay notoriously excessive?

Racial justice

Murphy mentioned amongst his priorities environmental justice initiatives to assist communities of coloration, the methods his liquor license initiative would possibly assist Black and brown small enterprise homeowners, and the progress of New Jersey’s hashish business, which he stated is “making room for women and minority small business owners.”

And the New Jersey Monitor famous this week most federal funds that the state price range left at Murphy’s discretion have boosted support to immigrants dwelling in the nation with out authorization, or others shut out of federal COVID support.

However little of his handle mentioned new investments in racial justice l, and the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice observed.

“For the third year in a row, the Governor’s State Address minimized the urgency to pass the much-needed racial justice and progressive reforms that were a promise at the start of his term,” the alliance wrote in a press assertion Tuesday.

It requested the governor to spend money on language entry, election reforms, information disaggregation to raised signify the variety of communities and legal justice reforms that “abandon the outdated and often dangerous idea that safer communities can only exist alongside harsher punishments.”

The alliance careworn some optimism it may work with state leaders as the FY 2024 price range cycle will get underway.

So what commitments will Murphy make to racial justice on this 12 months, and in what’s left of his second time period?

Coping with auto thefts

Murphy talked up an growth of the State Police’s Auto Theft Activity Power to disrupt automobile theft rings, and the way his legal professional common revised police pursuit insurance policies to allow the pursuit of stolen automobiles – one thing the legal professional common’s predecessors discouraged, involved about the potential for accidents and deaths in chases.

Murphy additionally stated a $10 million funding in automated license plate know-how was serving to carry thefts down – 13% 12 months over 12 months, in the final quarter of 2022.

He’s backing a legislative proposal to extend penalties tied to automobile thefts, meant to discourage serial auto thieves. However it could, in some automobile crime instances, roll again bail reform members Democrats celebrated just some years in the past – guidelines that require prosecutors present somebody is a flight danger. How will that go over with teams usually in Murphy’s nook, like the ACLU? There’s bipartisan assist and bipartisan opposition, with worries about impacts on individuals of coloration.

How does Murphy reply the criticism this package deal of legal guidelines may damage some of the similar communities he’s vowed to guard?

Additionally on our radar

Murphy talked about “carefully crafted laws that keep guns out of our most vulnerable places.” We might also ask if he’s nervous about the future of these legal guidelines, after a short lived restraining order barred the state from implementing key provisions. We wish to know what the “boardwalk fund” he briefly talked about would price, and the way it’ll assist Shore cities.

And Murphy spoke about NJ’s enterprise local weather – noting, for occasion, Netflix plans a $1 billion manufacturing hub at the website of the former Fort Monmouth. The New Jersey Enterprise Administration applauds that funding, however says its survey exhibits 82% of collaborating companies say New Jersey is both considerably unaffordable or not reasonably priced in any respect for enterprise, citing a heavy tax burden. So what’s forward to make the state extra palatable for funding?

“Ask Governor Murphy” is a manufacturing of WBGO in Newark, in partnership with WNYC and WHYY. The present is hosted by WNYC Senior Reporter Nancy Solomon.

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