State Assembly OKs $5B bond to close budget gap from COVID-19

New Jersey’s Democrat-led Assembly has passed a measure authorizing $5 billion in borrowing sought by Gov. Phil Murphy.

News 12 Staff

Jun 4, 2020, 9:45 PM

Updated 1,408 days ago

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New Jersey’s Democrat-led Assembly has passed a measure authorizing $5 billion in borrowing sought by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The measure, passed Thursday, gives the administration approval to borrow the money to plug a budget hole blown open by the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The alternative here is the devastation of our front-line workers – the very people we need at their positions and posts,” Murphy said.
The bond passed with 51 affirmative votes and 28 negative votes. All Assembly Republicans voted against the bill. They say that they oppose the borrowing on several grounds. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said he’s not convinced $5 billion is needed. He also said in a teleconference on Thursday that the borrowing will lead to increased taxes – something Murphy denies.
“We have no plans to raise property taxes,” the governor said. “If we didn’t do the bonding, that’s how property taxes would rise, because folks would have no other choice but to offset the cuts that would come their way."
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Bramnick also says that borrowing violates the state constitution. He says that he plans to file a lawsuit.
“We also need to debate every potential new piece of legislation, every possible reform and every possible way we can reduce the cost of government,” he says. “We have not done that.”
Murphy’s Treasury Department has said the state faces a $10 billion shortfall over the current and next fiscal years. The governor is also proposing $5 billion in cuts in the coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
The state Senate still needs to pass the bill. Senate President Steve Sweeney’s office declined to comment on that that might happen.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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