New Jersey to Move Fiscal Year End to September From June

Elise Young

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey plans to extend its fiscal year by three months because of uncertainty about the new coronavirus’ effect on revenue and how much stimulus is coming from the federal government, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in an interview.

The state tax deadline, April 15, also will be pushed back, to July 15, Sweeney said. The federal government and New York state have set that deadline as well.

Sweeney said he, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Governor Phil Murphy, all Democrats, have been discussing the moves for a few days and were advised of their legal authority to change the dates. The extended deadlines will require legislative approval, he said.

“We are committed to working together to enact the necessary legislation and supplemental appropriations,” Murphy, Coughlin and Sweeney said in a joint statement issued by the governor’s office.

New Jersey, the most densely populated U.S. state, has been among the hardest hit by the virus. The state on Tuesday reported 18,696 cases and 267 deaths.

New Jersey’s constitutional budget deadline is June 30 for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Murphy has proposed a $40.9 billion spending plan, and legislative hearings were to start in March. But social distancing, in place to help slow the virus’ spread, has upended the lawmaking process. The state Assembly for the first time in its history met remotely on March 25, conducting votes via conference call.

Sweeney has said he would agree this year to Murphy’s pitch for a millionaire’s tax if the governor pledged to add $1 billion to the record $4.6 billion planned pension payment. Lawmakers for the past two budget seasons had blocked the higher rate on millionaires, saying New Jersey is too heavily taxed. Murphy has argued it could raise $500 million annually.

Today, though, Sweeney said it’s the last thing on his mind.

“I don’t even want to talk about raising taxes right now” until stimulus details and revenue are clear, he said.

(Updates with tax-filing deadline starting in second paragraph.)

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