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Threatening “Draconian cuts”, Governor Murphy Calls Senator Mitch McConnell “completely and utterly irresponsible”

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew scathing criticism from a several lawmaker Wednesday for saying he would prefer to see states file for bankruptcy than receive additional federal funds as they struggle to cover the costs of combating the coronavirus outbreak.

Currently, states cannot file for bankruptcy, while cities and other local governments can use Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy to restructure their debt if allowed by their states. Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, commenced a form of municipal bankruptcy in 2017 after the U.S. Congress authorized it.

At the April 22nd Coronavirus press conference  after once again threatening “draconian cuts” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy responded:

“We cannot do this alone. We are fighting COVID-19 every day on the frontlines and have taken unprecedented action to slow its spread. We cannot have this fight lead to an inevitable set of draconian cuts that will hurt our ability to help get our people back up off the mat. We need the federal government’s help to avoid this fate. And by the way, this is not just a New Jersey matter. This is a near universal reality from my fellow governors, Democrats and Republicans alike.

At the risk of sounding partisan, and I’m not saying this to be partisan. In fact, if the words were spoken by a Democrat, I would be equally as forceful. But I’m jaw dropped, I’m taken aback. My breath is taken away. I have almost nothing to say to what I read that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said earlier today, that in fact, it wouldn’t be necessarily a bad idea for states to go bankrupt. I’m paraphrasing him, but this is in fact what he said. “It’s actually worked out pretty well for some cities over time.” Really? This is the time, in a moment of crisis unlike any our country has faced, in at least 100 years, to suggest it’s a good thing for states to go bankrupt?

I would say two things in reaction, Senator, and I’m not sure you’re watching; I suspect you’re not. Number one, come on, man. That is completely and utterly irresponsible. There’s no level of responsibility associated with that and I don’t care what party you’re in. Encouraging, engendering explicitly, almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest healthcare crisis this country has ever faced is completely and utterly irresponsible.

Secondly, as usual, he’s dead wrong. Because that won’t happen. We won’t go bankrupt. You have my word we won’t go bankrupt. But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights in every state in America out of the services, the exact services that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut. We won’t go bankrupt, Senator, but we will leave our citizens in the lurch at their most profound hour of need, we will leave people on the beach alone, helpless. That is what will happen in New Jersey. And I might add, Senator without having spoken to your Governor, that will happen in Kentucky. You have my word. So watch your words, sir. This is no time for bankruptcies and wishing bankruptcies. This is the time for the federal government, and I was encouraged by what President Trump tweeted yesterday, and we’re going to hold the federal government to this. This is the time to stand up on a bipartisan basis and be there for the states in America, not just for the state’s sake, but for the American people. Please, God.”

6 thoughts on “Threatening “Draconian cuts”, Governor Murphy Calls Senator Mitch McConnell “completely and utterly irresponsible”

  1. Murphy (and others) are making good use of the current situation and the voters’ 30-second attention span by utilizing that quote commonly attributed to Rham Emanuel – “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
    A cursory search of the internet found the website below. It clearly shows that current NJ State debt is not a result of the pandemic, but has grown from approximately $27B in 1999 to $71B as of 2019.
    And while it is possible that this website may be inaccurate, the inaccuracy will be an error of degree, not direction.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/305364/new-jersey-state-debt/

  2. To further clarify my previous comment: would New Jerseyans willingly accept an increase in federal taxes to pay the debts of the State of Kansas? I doubt it…

    Therefore Senator McConnell is on the right track – state governments should NOT be allowed to shirk their responsibility and pass debt burdens they allowed to grow over decades to the federal government.

    Bankruptcies by states may be in order – Orange County, CA went bankrupt in 1994, so there is at least one well-known precedent for U.S. governmental entities to go bankrupt.

    (see: https://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/08/business/orange-county-s-bankruptcy-the-overview-orange-county-crisis-jolts-bond-market.html

    It may seem expedient in in the moment but can never be considered morally correct to allow states’ obligations to be passed on to the entire country. Doing so will only encourage future fiscal irresponsibility on the part of states.

  3. Threatening “Draconian cuts”, Governor Murphy Calls Senator Mitch McConnell “completely and utterly irresponsible”
    .
    The pot calling the kettle Draconian?
    .

  4. Pig unions need to see benefits cut.

  5. When the pension funds run out of money and the PAYGO (pay as you go) platinum healthcare plans for the public sector piggies bankrupt the state, filing for bankruptcy will be the only way to diminish the excessive benefits that the teachers, judges police, and firefighters have negotiated in bad faith.

    Every time their full-time labor lawyers don’t get exactly what they want in CBA negotiations with overmatched (and usually hugely conflicted) BoEs and municipal governments, they scream, “Impasse!” and call in union friendly mediators.

    They are nothing more than greedy, selfish pigs, trying to squeeze more blood from taxpayers at every turn. These Lib-Dems stealing money from tax payers is against our rights and freedoms.

  6. Look at the chin….impressive…!

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