Press of Atlantic City: Gov. Murphy didn’t heed fiscal warnings, now wolf is at New Jersey’s door - Garden State Initiative

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Press of Atlantic City: Gov. Murphy didn’t heed fiscal warnings, now wolf is at New Jersey’s door

June 25, 2020

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New Jersey state government had overtaxed and overspent itself into a deep hole before Gov. Phil Murphy took office at the start of 2018. It already had $48 billion in debt and the nation’s biggest shortfall — $152 billion — in funding the pension and benefits promises politicians made to public employee unions.

But instead of seeking to improve state government finances, the former Wall Street executive raised taxes more and used the money to increase spending further — an additional $2.6 billion his first two years.

Ratings agency Standard & Poors warned that although the strengthening national economy and stock markets had eased the state’s financial pain, “another recession could deliver a damaging blow.”

Well, two years later that damaging blow is hitting. A recession caused by the pandemic and the throttling of the economy in response to it started in February. It is likely to be as severe as the financial collapse of 2007-09, giving New Jersey a weak economy with high unemployment for the rest of Murphy’s term and beyond.

Read the full editorial here.