News Flash

Doug Steinhardt

Posted on: June 26, 2023

Republican Budget Committee Calls for Release of FY 2024 State Budget Plan that Will Be Voted On

money puzzle

Say There's Been No Transparency from Democrats on Additions to Budget and Related Bills that Will Be Rushed to Enactment.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee called on Governor Murphy and legislative Democrats to release the FY 2024 State Budget and explain the dozens of other bills that the Budget Committee will be called to vote upon tomorrow.

"It's outrageous that we're going to be asked to vote on a record spending bill tomorrow by the Democratic Majority without anyone having seen a copy of the bill yet," said Senator Declan O'Scanlon (R-13), the Republican Budget Officer. "We don't even have an outline of the plan to help us understand the billions of dollars of changes they are proposing. This is no way to run a government."

The Legislature and Governor Murphy have a constitutional deadline of June 30 to adopt a balanced budget to prevent a government shutdown starting July 1.

Democrats have not shared so much as an outline of their budget bill that must be adopted within the next four days even though it is expected to differ significantly from Governor Murphy's original budget proposal. They issued a Senate Budget Committee agenda for tomorrow that will rush bills through the legislative process spending nearly $100 billion of taxpayer funds and giving away billions of dollars of special tax credits.

"The Governor proposed almost 100 special line items of pork in the original draft of the budget that his administration repeatedly refused to explain during budget hearings this spring and through multiple public record requests," said Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho (R-24). "New Jerseyans deserve to know why a favored few are getting huge budget handouts that nobody else is getting. There's nothing fair about that."

It is believed that despite Republican proposals to improve the budget, Democrats will advance a budget that allows five tax increases totaling $2 billion to move forward.

It also is expected to maintain cuts in aid to 160 school districts and continue hoarding billions of dollars in several slush funds controlled by a handful of Democrat leaders.

"Legislators will be asked to vote for a budget with hundreds of taxpayer-funded gifts inserted by Governor Murphy including money for a private lacrosse club, a French Arts museum in a city where school aid was slashed, and even a Dominoes Club," said Senator Michael Testa (R-1). "There's also an unexplained $250,000 appropriation for a privately run pool in Deal, one of the richest communities in the state, to an organization whose director is paid $300,000 a year. We asked for explanations for this funding from the Governor and legislative Democrats and got nothing. They know this spending isn't justified or fair so they don't even bother trying to explain it."

It is still unknown how many special line items will be added to the budget this week and whether they will be explained in advance of the budget vote.

"If history is any guide, we are about to get a budget at the last minute with dozens or even hundreds of Christmas tree add-ons with no explanation, justification, or background," said Senator Doug Steinhardt (R-23). "This is the exact opposite of how an open and transparent budget process is supposed to work."

The unexplained pork already requested by Governor Murphy in his budget proposal includes:

Favored Municipalities and Community Projects
FY24 Proposed
Deal - Sephardic Youth Center Inc. Playground Expansion$250,000
Deal - Axelrod Performing Arts Center Ballet Dance
Jersey City - French Arts Museum
Elizabeth - Institute of Music for Children
Asbury Park Theater
Bergenfield - Little League
Bergenfield - Police Athletic League – operating
Bergenfield - Senior Activity Center
Paramus - Public Safety
River Edge - Public Facilities Improvement
Hasbrouck Heights - Flood Mitigation
Little Ferry – Roads
Maywood - Public facilities
Asbury Park - Building Replacement
Union City - social services
Montgomery - Infrastructure
Monmouth Beach - Beautification
Long Branch - Volunteer Firefighters Museum
West Orange – Recreation
Fair Lawn - Public Facilities
Freehold Boro - Liberty Street Improvements

Favored Public Safety
FY24 Proposed
Princeton - First Responders Radios$222,000
Eatontown - Public Safety$100,000

Favored Youth /Daycare / Community Centers 
FY24 Proposed
Neptune Twp. - Midtown Youth Programs$50,000
Monmouth Day Care Center$25,000

Special K-12 Education Funding
FY24 Proposed
Paramus Schools - Athletic Fields Improvement$1,500,000
Neptune Twp. School District - Capital
Hillsborough School District - Capital
Somerset County Vo Tech - Capital

Favored Community Colleges
FY24 Proposed
Brookdale CC$250,000

Favored Four Year Higher Education
FY24 Proposed
Rabbinical College of America/Chabad of NJ$250,000

Favored Counties
FY24 Proposed
Middlesex County - Art. Turf Fields (Cricket, Rugby, etc) Tennis Courts$20,000,000

Favored Health Care Service Providers
FY24 Proposed
Monmouth Day Care Center$25,000

Favored Community Group / Social Service Providers
FY24 Proposed
Bergenfield - Dominos Club Operating Costs$50,000
NJ Interscholastic Lacrosse Officials Association
Spanish American Cultural Association of Bergenfield, Cultural Programs
IBEW - Benevolent Fund - Scholarship
Shri Krishna Ndhi Foundation
Qspot LGBT Community Center
Spanish American Cultural Association of Bergenfield, Cultural Progams

The Republican Budget Committee members have released all of their requested budget changes, including explanations and justifications, in advance of the budget vote in accordance with Senate Rules.

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