TRENTON, N.J. – It is unclear why legislative hearings with Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio were cancelled in the Assembly. Republican members of the budget committee sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy and Muoio, giving them 24 hours to answer a dozen questions that would have been asked had the hearings not been nixed.
“We cannot fathom what you are trying to hide by refusing your traditional responsibility to provide revenue updates to the Assembly Budget Committee. If it was the decision of our colleagues in the legislature, please do not demur,” the members wrote. “There are only two possibilities that come to mind: that your administration is woefully unprepared to explain how you plan to spend the newly expected money and the more than $6 billion in federal aid, or your disdain for transparency and the legislative process satiates your hunger for unilateral power.”
Muoio provided her speech and budget documents by press release at 11:13 a.m. today. While fiscal year 2021 revenue projections increased by $4 billion, fiscal year 2022 revenue projections increased by $1.1 billion and spending increased by $130 million to $45 billion.
After the revision, it appears that spending is over $3 billion more than expected recurring revenue, creating a deficit that will need to be closed in fiscal year 2023. Spending will increase by 30 percent – $10.3 billion – since Murphy took office if legislative Democrats do not propose more appropriations, while recurring revenue has only increased by 16 percent – $5.85 billion.