N.J. to borrow billions to help avert public worker layoffs after Murphy, top Democrats cut deal

Brent Johnson, Samantha Marcus & Sophie Nieto-Munoz | July 10, 2020 | NJ Advance Media |

 

Gov. Phil Murphy and his fellow Democrats who lead the state Legislature agreed to a plan Friday that would allow New Jersey’s state government to borrow up to nearly $10 billion to help make up massive losses in tax revenue wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost immediately, top Republican leaders announced they plan to file lawsuits to prevent the move, calling the plan “clearly unconstitutional.”

Murphy said New Jersey is facing possibly a $20 billion hole in its state budget, and borrowing is one of a few necessary moves the state needs to take balance the budget and avoid widespread layoffs of public workers and drastic program cuts. He also said the state will need more federal aid, budget cuts across the board and tax hikes.

The state Assembly passed an early version of the borrowing plan along party lines in early June. But state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, was opposed.

The deal Murphy, Sweeney and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, cut Friday creates a new version of the plan. It would allow the state to borrow up to $9.9 billion because of the crisis, Sweeney and Coughlin announced.

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