NJ.com: N.J. budget could be surprisingly flush with cash. What will Murphy do with all that money? - Garden State Initiative

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Governor Murphy, Economic Opportunity for All

NJ.com: N.J. budget could be surprisingly flush with cash. What will Murphy do with all that money?

February 22, 2021

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By Samantha Marcus

Budget season in New Jersey typically conjures two unpopular questions.

Which taxes are going up?

And by how much?

But this year, following a $4 billion borrowing plan to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy faces an entirely different dilemma for his Democratic administration.

State tax revenues are surpassing projections. More than $6 billion in federal stimulus support could soon be on its way. And the Legislature’s leading Democrat, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, has already said he sees no reason to hike taxes or fees.

All things considered, budget experts predict Murphy’s most pressing question will be something almost inconceivable 11 months ago: How is the government going to spend all of this money?

“We’re going to have a lot of money. The question is, whose money is it?” said state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “The battle will come over what we do with that money and who the benefit of that money will accrue to, and that will be a rhetorical battle and not necessarily a budget, mathematical battle.”

As Murphy prepares to deliver his fiscal year 2022 budget address on Tuesday, he enters a budget season unlike any other in his first term.

The strong tax collections and likelihood of a one-time infusion of federal dollars has lawmakers on both sides of the aisle suggesting New Jersey’s coffers could be flush for at least one fiscal year before a potential cliff in 2023.

Read the full report here.