TRENTON, N.J. – The Murphy Administration renewed its push to open a state bank on Wednesday, but as with most things Murphy-related, the already controversial effort – which no other state has pulled off in 100 years – is starting out under a dark cloud.
Governor Phil Murphy’s detractors demanded answers when Derrick Green – who found himself embroiled in Bermudan campaign finance scandal – made his way to the N.J. Secretary of State’s office despite still being under investigation at the time. Green had also been paid over $2 million to consult on Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign.
“This administration continues to demonstrate questionable judgment in its hiring practices,” said state Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), Corrado, vice-chair of the Legislative Select Oversight Committee. “Derrick Green was involved in a political scandal that brought down a government as a result of a missing $350,000. Only Phil Murphy would put someone like him on a board to create a bank.”
The Murphy Administration’s steady stream of questionable hires and appointments, including an ex-official convicted of accepting bribes, have occupied legislators’ attention and drawn their ire for months.
Other legislators attacked the bank scheme on its merits.
“There would be a substantial risk of default on high-risk loans, with the cost falling on taxpayers since the state bank would not be FDIC insured. The truth of the matter is that new agencies run by the State have a history of falling short. This poses too great of a potential liability for New Jersey families who already struggle with taxes,” said state Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25). “Additionally, many worthwhile loans that deserve state support are already being made by existing institutions, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. We don’t need a separate body that duplicates those functions. That’s the conclusion that both Vermont and Massachusetts came to when they explored and decided against establishing state banks of their own.”
Murphy’s decision to resurrect his dormant Election 2017 idea is really about weed.
“The truth is that the establishment of state bank is really about advancing the governor’s goal of legalizing marijuana in New Jersey, since commercial banks are prohibited by federal law from taking deposits from marijuana-related businesses. The state bank is simply another attempt by Governor Murphy to circumvent federal law, and bypass the State Legislature as well. Governor Murphy is taking the executive order path because he does not have legislative support,” Bucco added. “Governor Murphy needs to focus on New Jersey’s high property taxes and underfunded schools, rather than launch this bottomless money pit that will no doubt be run by politically connected folks.”