Murphy about to incur another $400M in debt despite having billions on hand

Murphy about to incur another $400M in debt despite having billions on hand

Why is New Jersey still borrowing money when it’s flush with cash?

Last week, the Murphy Administration declared its intention to “release a total of $400 million in capital facilities grant funding in a joint solicitation of four revolving bond programs.” In other words, Murphy is adding another $400 million onto our state debt load.

“State support for our institutions of higher education has long been lacking, but that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to cost when we decide to make an important investment,” said State Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) who serves on the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “I don’t think it makes sense for Governor Murphy to propose increasing State debt when his administration is sitting on a windfall of billions upon billions in cash that remains untapped. His plan will stick taxpayers with unnecessary debt and interest payments for decades when he should be working to increase affordability.”

O’Scanlon noted that the state already has a significant chunk of the $6.24 billion in federal pandemic relief funds sitting around unspent as well as another $1.2 billion in budgeted funds for capital improvements. 

The Murphy Administration planned for a 5.1% dip in revenue when the FY 2022 budget was being put together but, at the moment, the state has seen a 25% jump in year-to-date cash collections.

“We have billions in the bank that can easily fund a capital program for our colleges and we’re likely to have billions more in surplus than we were expecting due to the Murphy administration’s inaccurate fiscal projections,” added O’Scanlon. “There is absolutely no doubt that we can afford to fund these important projects with the boatloads of unutilized cash collecting dust in the State bank account. Governor Murphy shouldn’t borrow a single penny.”

I bet Steve Sweeney’s post-borrowing regret is only growing, Save Jerseyans!

One possible answer to my original question: putting off the massive tax increase that’s inevitable but which Democrats want to avoid while the national mood trends decidedly against the Democrats.