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State Sen. Paul Sarlo. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Sarlo wants NJ public entities to halt business with Russia

Budget chair will introduce bill in response to invasion of Ukraine

By Joey Fox, February 24 2022 1:38 pm

State Sen. and Budget Committee Chair Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) announced imminent legislation today that would bar public entities in New Jersey from doing business with Russia or Russia-tied companies in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began yesterday evening. 

“Russia’s unjustified attack of Ukraine is an assault on democracy that demands a response that sends a clear message that these actions will have consequences,” Sarlo said in a statement. “They violated the sovereignty of another country with complete disregard for the lives of innocent people. This demands a response by everyone who respects freedom and values human rights.”

While the precise provisions of the bill are not yet known, Sarlo said that it would cut off all financial interactions – including pension investments, public contracts, professional services, deals with Russian financial institutions, and tax abatements for Russia-affiliated companies – which he argued would serve as appropriate retribution for Russian aggression.

“The Russian government and oligarchs who profit off their ties to the Putin regime are known for the way they move their money around to camouflage its sources,”  Sarlo said. “Cutting off all avenues of investments and finances in New Jersey and other states will reinforce the international sanctions being led by the United States. I hope to see other states take similar actions.”

Yesterday, before the invasion fully began, Gov. Phil Murphy called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “bad, bad, bad dude,” and said that his administration was mindful of the myriad ways conflict in Eastern Europe could affect New Jersey. Since Ukraine began coming under bombardment, a number of other New Jersey politicians have released statements universally condemning Putin’s actions.

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