Congratulations, Governor Murphy. Unsurprisingly, the NJ Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that you get to borrow up to $9.9 billion to cover budget gaps due to shortfalls and costs related to COVID19. This is good news for NJ’s most powerful special interests, the public sector unions, who are Murphy’s political supporters. Unfortunately, this is bad news for New Jersey’s future generations.
- All NJ citizens should understand that this is more debt that will have to be paid back. In effect, it is pushing today’s costs on to later generations of NJ taxpayers. That’s right, our young people and children. They will face higher debt, higher taxes, squeezed budgets, a weak economy and increased outmigration. It’s very hard to see this as a victory for them.
- NJ already has the highest debt load of any state in the country. Truth in Accounting found NJ’s debt per taxpayer to be $61,400, $8,000 higher than second-place CT. NJ already has the second-lowest bond rating of any state (next to broke IL). We already have unfunded retiree liabilities of $200 billion, and our bonded debt is $45 billion. And Murphy is going to add another $9.9 billion on top it. That comes to $255 billion. Our state budget (before COVID19) was $41 billion.
- NJ already has one of the highest outmigrations of people, wealth and businesses in the nation. Even millennials are fleeing NJ. And who can blame them? Why stick around and wait for all this debt to come due? Why stay in NJ and face higher taxes and a higher cost of living? Why hope for a career in an underperforming and over-burdened economy? They won’t. And Murphy is adding to this pressure.
- What will Murphy do with the money? His furlough deal with state-government union CWA called for no layoffs. Will Murphy do the same for his political ally and financial-backer NJEA? Will NJ’s public sector continue at full employment with full pay while the private sector suffers, all at the expense of future generations? Will Murphy fund public-sector pensions with $4 billion of debt that will be paid for by future NJ taxpayers? Will Murphy be borrowing from future generations to fund his desire to take care of his special-interest political allies?
Once again, it looks like NJ’s special-interest-dominated political system is taking care of the special interests. And Murphy is perfectly happy to play along because they are his political supporters. When will ordinary NJ citizens and taxpayers wake up to this rigged system?