The New Jersey State Assembly Budget Committee has approved the plan to authorize the issuance of $5 billion in state bonds to help meet budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure passed 9-4, along party lines. Of the nine Democrats voting yes, three were from South Jersey.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have a devastating impact on the State’s economy. Residents, businesses, and government units have seen significant adverse effects,” said Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark). “We must take action to ensure our fiscal viability by empowering the State to apply for and receive federal stimulus loans for the benefit of the State and local government units as they respond to the negative impacts of the coronavirus.”
Along with Pintor Marin, Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro), Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), John McKeon (D-West Orange), Carol Murphy (D-Mount Laurel), Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), William Spearman (D-Camden) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson) voted yes.
No votes came from Republicans Rob Clifton (R-Matawan), Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel), Nancy Munoz (R-Summit), and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage),.
Pintor Marin said that her committee did “not make this decision lightly.”
“The historic nature of the current pandemic has led to this unprecedented last resort due to the current fiscal crisis,” she said.
The borrowing plan could exceed $14 billion, if a plan to allow the state to borrow $9 billion on behalf of counties and municipalities is approved.