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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Second budget address under consideration, Murphy says

With New Jersey still caught in a fiscal tumble, governor’s old budget almost certainly dead.

By Nikita Biryukov, May 11 2020 2:56 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy may deliver a second budget address this year following the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19.

“I haven’t,” Murphy said when asked if he had reached a decision on redelivering a budget message. “But it’s something that we’re considering.”

The state’s finances have shifted drastically since Murphy introduced his budget in late February.

While the extent of the fiscal fallout caused by the pandemic remains unclear, most of the state’s revenues have taken a downward turn, and, absent significant federal aid, the governor’s original budget is likely not realistic.

State Treasurer Liz Muoio has already frozen nearly $1 billion in spending from the current fiscal year and warned in March that Murphy’s budget would need significant revisions.

There’s been little positive news on this front since then.

The state’s revenue collections have continued their tumble even as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the state has declined, and Murphy on Monday warned that a fiscal disaster was close at hand.

“Hard and unpalatable decisions will be on our doorstep in just a few weeks,” he said.

It’s possible that a federal bill providing $500 billion in direct aid to state and local governments who have seen their finances upended by the virus will provide New Jersey with some much-needed relief, but while that measure has drawn some bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate, it has yet to make any significant movements toward President Donald Trump’s desk.

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