A number of Republican legislators in the state condemned Gov. Phil Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget address today, claiming that it raises spending by 11% after borrowing more than $4.5 billion in the FY 2021 budget.
According to Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, “The governor raised spending during his four terms in office from $35 billion to $45 billion. That’s a 30% increase over that time. This year’s $44.8 billion budget raises spending by 11%. Here is the crazy part: he is also borrowing $4.5 billion.”
Bramnick said the governor believes the solutions for New Jersey are simply “more programs and more government spending. However, what the governor does not recognize is that New Jersey is still the No. 1 exit state. People are worried about paying their bills and they know they cannot stay here. But there was not one indication on what the future holds for those people. It’s just program, after program, after program. The message today gives no promise to taxpayers that there is hope down the road that they could retire in New Jersey.”
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Hal Wirths said that Murphy’s budget address presented an “election year budget” done with “smoke and mirrors” – using Murphy’s own words during the address to explain just the opposite.
“Republicans recognized that incoming revenues would be higher by some $3 billion,” Wirths said. “We could have paid bills without borrowing $4.5 billion. This budget is on borrowed dollars with 13-year bonding.”
Wirths also raised the point that the Murphy administration was sitting on $2 billion in federal CARES Act money that “should have gone to small businesses.”
“The governor comes from Goldman Sachs. He knows Wall Street, but he doesn’t know anything about Main Street. He needs to talk to poor folks who make this state work every day. Many are out of business because of the actions he has taken,” Wirths continued.
Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho said Murphy’s budget address was about “protecting his own job” in an election year.
“Senate Republicans have been warning since last June and July that the Murphy administration was peddling a false doom-and-gloom financial picture despite clear evidence that New Jersey’s finances had rebounded quickly as lockdowns eased.
“Instead of heeding our calls last spring and summer to fund urgently needed relief programs, the governor chose to sit on a growing pile of cash while one-third of New Jersey’s small businesses closed and nonprofits and families struggled,” he said.
Republican Senator Declan O’Scanlon, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, commented that the governor’s budget proposal is fueled by “one-time windfalls of federal revenue, massive one-time borrowings, and spending down a surplus.”
“The budget is devoid of common sense and bipartisan efforts to control costs over the long term, like ending pension and health benefit excesses, reestablishing binding arbitration reforms, or providing more sustainable compensation increases for employees while so many are unemployed,” he said. “The spending in this budget is nowhere close to sustainable. And claims of no new taxes are simply, demonstrably untrue.”