The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran’s title succinctly captures NJ’s FY2021 COVID budget. Moran notes that despite the negative impact of COVID, spending will be increased 4%. NJ citizens and businesses are tightening their belts, but not our special-interest-friendly state government.
Gov. Murphy and his legislative allies are also making a $4.7 billion pension payment – as called for by their political supporter and NJ’s most powerful special interest, the NJEA. But the public pension system remains unreformed and in deep trouble, so the $4.7 billion is throwing a lot of good money after bad.
To pay for this, NJ will borrow $4.5 billion. Murphy and company are apparently unconcerned that NJ already has the highest debt-per-taxpayer of any state in the country ($57,900). They are content to dig NJ’s deep hole even deeper and push the costs and the hard work of reform into the future.
We already know from bitter experience that more government spending, more taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and more debt means more outmigration of people, wealth and businesses. This is the downward spiral that many (including Sunlight Policy) have warned about.
But at least the special interests are happy.