Following a Politico NJ report yesterday that the state government spent more than half a million dollars of federal Covid relief on SUVs to drive Gov. Phil Murphy and other state officials, State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Vineland) released a statement excoriating the administration’s spending choices.
“It’s disturbing that Governor Murphy and Democrat leaders chose to spend pandemic relief funds to buy new SUVs for the State Police to chauffeur them around the state,” Testa said.
The South Jersey Republican, who has frequently sparred with Democrats since his first election in 2019, said that there are far better uses for the state’s untapped relief money.
“Instead of putting the billions in unspent relief funds that have sat idle in state accounts for two years to effective use, Democrats prioritized their own comfort and convenience over helping people,” he said. “It’s despicable.”Murphy’s predecessor, Chris Christie, also looked for alternate ways of purchasing vehicles for the governor’s office. He took a Chevrolet Suburban and other equipment from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which transferred the title to the state.
In one instance, the bistate transportation agency had the SUV painted black; it had originally been white when it was purchased for use by the Port Authority Police Department.
This story was updated at 3:52 p.m. with a correction: Politico NJ was the first to report on the SUV spending, not the Star-Ledger.