TRENTON, N.J. – Gov. Phil Murphy’s wasteful spending on personal office furniture while sacrificing the needs of schools and students can still be rectified with an auction say Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno. The Monmouth County lawmakers are calling on the state to sell Murphy’s expensive office décor and refund their school districts with the savings.
“New Jersey doesn’t need majesty, we need top-notch schools. Governor Phil Murphy’s extravagant purchases for personal office space in the Statehouse show just how out of touch he really is with the average resident of New Jersey,” Eulner (R-Monmouth) said. “With what he paid for in furnishings, he could fully restore funding to several school districts that serve deserving students, so we are calling on him to do just that.”
The assemblywomen said following an auction of the furniture, which cost taxpayers nearly $500,000, eight of their school districts could be fully restored to their fiscal year 2023 funding. Bradley Beach, Eatontown, Loch Arbor, Monmouth Regional, Neptune City, Ocean Township, Red Bank Borough and Tinton Falls school districts are still short hundreds of thousands of dollars, because Murphy and Democrats agreed to return just 66% of the cuts scheduled for fiscal year 2024.
“Sen. Vin Gopal is satisfied with his plan to partially support schools, but we are fighting to get these schools back every penny they lost. This is about prioritizing the needs of our state’s children over election-year favors and froufrou furniture in the Statehouse,” Piperno (R-Monmouth) said.
Even under the partial funding restoration, Red Bank Borough is still short $185,540, Eatontown and Neptune City are losing nearly $50,000 each, Bradley Beach loses $40,815 and Monmouth Regional is being cut $34,635. To be level with last year, Tinton Falls, Ocean Township and Loch Arbor would need more than $43,000.
“Put our students first,” implored Eulner. “The Murphys’ desks and chairs could have paid for 264 desk and chair sets for students. The curtains alone cost more than it would to restore funding to Monmouth Regional, Tinton Falls and Loch Arbor school districts. Those credenzas could have made up for cuts to Ocean Township.”
The specific rugs, curtains, pillows, lamps and furniture the assemblywomen are targeting for the auction are in Murphy’s new personal office in the Statehouse, as well as his reception area and the office used by Tammy Murphy. The single most costly piece is the reception room’s antique Sultanabad area rug, which was purchased for $114,420.
“The sooner the state gets Murphy’s furniture up for auction, the more secure our teachers will feel and the better prepared our students will be to succeed next school year,” Piperno said.
The Treasury Department oversees public and online auctions selling seized property and state surplus and vehicles.