the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Senator Michael Testa (R-1), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on Governor Murphy’s unspoken, but obvious, reelection budget strategy:
“While Governor Murphy claims he needs to borrow billions of dollars to prevent layoffs and fund property tax relief programs, consider the following things in this year’s budget that the borrowing will really support:
Increasing the surplus by $1 billion, which is money that will be left in the bank and spent next year;
Increasing prefunding of future pensions by $1 billion, which is money that will be put in a bank and spent decades from now; and
Offsetting intentionally overstated revenue losses by $2 billion, which will provide him an extra $2 billion to spend when revenues come in better than projected – as they will;
“Let’s be perfectly clear: not one dime of the billions Murphy will borrow has anything to do with addressing COVID-19 related needs. It has to do with squirreling away money for next year’s budget so he can play Santa Claus as he runs for reelection.
“And despite the $4 billion of deficit borrowing that he is pursuing unnecessarily, the governor is still crying poor mouth with additional plans to increase taxes this year by more than $1 billion on everything from health care and motor vehicle registrations to hunting licenses, corporate employers, and payroll taxes.
“Are the new taxes being used for COVID-19 related purposes? No. Consider that this year’s budget spends $350 million to start paying back the unnecessary $4 billion of bonds, $40 million to start a new program to pay $1,000 into a bank account for three-quarters of all babies baby born in New Jersey, and millions of dollar for pork — including a golf course in Essex County, special subsidies to Hudson County, and the sorts of things that find their way into budgets during good times.
“This budget is fundamentally broken and it is based on lies. The governor needs to stop claiming borrowing and taxes are needed to address COVID-19. He needs to man up and admit that the borrowing and taxes are for things that have nothing to do with COVID-19.
“It’s obvious to everyone that he is hiding behind COVID-19 to borrow and tax so he can hoard money for his re-election effort next year when he will shovel money into new programs and pork while engaging in a few symbolic cuts that hurt hospitals, mental health care, and economic growth programs, all so he can put a fig leaf over his claim his budget has inadequate revenues.
“This budget is the biggest con ever put to the taxpayers of New Jersey, and it’s time Governor Murphy was called out for it.”