Steinhardt accuses Murphy of ‘squirreling away’ CARES Act funding

Updated 8:55 p.m.

TRENTON, N.J. – Republicans are calling it a “$1.8 billion lie.” 

It began at a late April Murphy COVID-19 press conference when the Governor, addressing desperately-needed CARES Act funding, declared “Treasury’s guidance renders much of this funding literally unusable, and without additional flexibility, will mean we will likely not be able to use it, but we’ll have to return a good chunk of it to the federal government.” But is that accurate?

The NJGOP pointed out on Monday that official guidance from the Federal Treasury Department affirms that New Jersey businesses are eligible for CARES Act funds.

Chairman Doug Steinhardt cited Section 5:

Eligible expenditures include, but are not limited to, payment for:

[…]

5. Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as:

    • Expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.

“Governor Murphy is sitting on a nearly $2 billion mountain of money that could save New Jersey small businesses, and he’s lying to all of us about it,” said Steinhardt. “The CARES Act was meant to help people who are directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic like frontline medical workers, small business owners and their employees, and people infected with COVID-19. But instead of putting that money to use helping struggling small businesses, Murphy is hoarding it hoping he can use it to balance his bloated budget. New Jerseyans should demand that the Governor send that money where it belongs, to create jobs, save businesses and help New Jersey’s nearly 1 million unemployed.”

Just a single $5 million small business grant through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has been established since New Jersey received nearly $2 billion in funding.

Reportedly somewhere between 1,250 to 2,000 of over 30,000 applicants will walk away with aid.

Late Monday, a spokesman for Governor Murphy admitted to New Jersey Globe that the Murphy Administration was holding back funds and had “sought additional flexibility in how CARES Act funds can be spent.

Murphy is lobbying hard for a major federal bailout to rescue the state’s pension fund and avoid having to layoff public sector union allies’ members.