Center Square NJ: New Jersey government carrying massive debt, with few options for paying it off, observers say - Garden State Initiative

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Center Square NJ: New Jersey government carrying massive debt, with few options for paying it off, observers say

April 20, 2021

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By Kim Jarrett

(The Center Square) – New Jersey is a state swimming in cash, but is still facing struggles as it recovers from the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The state will end the year with about $2.8 billion in surplus, legislative budget and finance officer Thomas Koenig told lawmakers earlier this month.

But the state is $44 billion in debt and caught between a rock and a hard place as to what funds can be used to pay off that debt.

New Jersey avoided some of the economic problems that crushed other states last year and came in 30th in a ranking of states most affected by the pandemic, according to WalletHub, which ranked the states based on two metrics.

The first is “highly affected industries and workforces” and double weight is given to the accommodations, food service, arts, entertainments and recreation industries. States were also ranked based on what resources were available to help businesses recover, giving double weight to a state’s rainy day fund, its share of workers with paid sick leave and the share of people who work from home.

“Highly affected industries such as accommodation, food services, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction only make up a small portion of the state’s GDP, said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “Aside from these industries, the state also has a small share of retail trade employment and good work from home infrastructure, which is why its unemployment claims are recovering quicker than in most states.”

Read the full report here.