Wirths says budget-borrowing deal still does more long-term harm than good

Wirths says budget-borrowing deal still does more long-term harm than good

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Hal Wirths says that an apparent borrowing agreement between Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney won’t solve the state’s long-term budget problems but make it worse, and that borrowing to replace revenue is still unconstitutional.

“When we borrow to replace revenue now, it creates a funding gap in the future,” said Wirths (R-Sussex), the Assembly GOP budget officer. “Our revenue problems aren’t going away anytime soon. Nobody expects to make up the revenue that will be replaced by borrowing in fiscal year 2022, especially with the added debt increasing expenses. It is unrealistic to expect a full economic recovery plus added growth.”

The deal would allow borrowing to fill projected revenue losses from the Treasury’s May 22 revenue report. Since then, revenue projections have become more optimistic, mostly from sales taxes, though revenue has not been recertified to maintain a façade of fiscal uncertainty.

“There have been numerous options presented by Republicans that would save billions of dollars, but they have been ignored and instead property tax relief and support for our state’s most unfortunate residents was cut,” continued Wirths. “Borrowing to replace revenue isn’t even constitutional. This is careless every way you look at it.”

Wirths sent a letter to members of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee on June 30 outlining questions and providing alternative ways to save money. Despite pointing out inconsistencies and carelessness in approaching the budget bill extending fiscal year 2020, it did not receive a response.