Center Square NJ: Senate Democrats, Gov. Murphy agree to deal to borrow billions to plug budget hole; Republicans blast plan - Garden State Initiative

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Center Square NJ: Senate Democrats, Gov. Murphy agree to deal to borrow billions to plug budget hole; Republicans blast plan

July 13, 2020

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(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Senate Budget Committee will vote Tuesday on a proposal that will allow Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow up to $9.9 billion from the federal government to cover state budget shortfalls attributed to restrictions put in place to slow the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Democrats reached an agreement with the governor on the plan Friday.

The full Senate will vote on the proposal Thursday. The Assembly passed the resolution last month.

Two senators and two assembly members will serve on the Select Commission on Emergency COVID-19 Borrowing. Any borrowing requests from Murphy must be approved by a majority vote of the committee.

“Senator Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and I will serve on the commission as the Senate members and will fulfill our responsibility to meet the needs of the people of New Jersey,” Sweeny said in a statement.

The money will still not be enough to cover the state’s budget woes, Murphy said at his Friday news briefing. He estimated the deficit from the middle of 2020 to the middle of 2021 is probably a “$20 billion hole.”

Republican Sen. Declan O’Scanlon called the agreement “unconstitutional.”

“This plan represents fiscal irresponsibility on a scale that is unprecedented even by Trenton standards,” O’Scanlon said in a statement. “To fund spending over the next fiscal year, taxpayers will be on the hook for $10 billion of debt and potentially more than $30 billion of interest payments over the 35-year repayment period that the proposal allows.”

The plan is “insane,” said Republican Senator Michael Testa.

“Taxpayers will be paying for this madness for the next 35 years,” Testa said.

Read the full report here.