Lawmakers Advance More Emergency Relief Measures, but No Certainty of Murphy’s Support

Colleen O’Dea | May 11, 2020 | NJ Spotlight |

Why there’s doubt: Governor has already vetoed bills that sought state funding to help needy individuals, citing NJ’s ‘dire’ financial situation

Several measures that are meant to address individuals’ financial needs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee Thursday. But with some of the bills calling for a state appropriation, their future is unclear.

Last Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed five of eight bills that sought to spend state money to help needy individuals, students and food banks and in all cases cited the state’s “dire” financial situation as the reason for his absolute vetoes. Murphy has repeatedly declined to provide specifics about the state’s budget situation but wants to borrow money to shore up finances.

Such sentiment may not bode well for at least two of the measures seeking to provide a combined $125 million in emergency relief to individuals that the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee approved Thursday in the first ever videoconference of a state legislative committee. The meeting was noteworthy not just because of the technology involved, but because it was the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak that Republicans vocalized their objections to measures the Democratic-controlled Legislature has been advancing to provide assistance to New Jerseyans.

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