New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: NJ’s Draconian Restrictions Are Proven Unnecessary, Economically Devastating

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) today criticized the Murphy administration’s continued blockade of New Jersey’s reopening and cited numerous metrics from surrounding states’ successful reopening.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon criticized the Murphy administration’s continued blockade of New Jersey’s reopening and cited numerous metrics from surrounding states’ successful reopening. (Click here for PDF)

“That the Governor, with a straight face, can cite a debunked study of an incident that happened over 8,000 miles away involving a restaurant in China with a wheezy, inadequate ventilation system that doesn’t conform to standards used in this country…to justify continuing to kill businesses here in New Jersey is outrageous and demoralizing for anyone trying to hold out hope that there’s any real, scientific focus on our safety and the health of our economy,” said O’Scanlon. “That the Governor, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, continues to suggest that we have to continue to destroy thousands of businesses and jobs and livelihoods is simply unconscionable.”

“What we can see across the board – with the undeniable metrics and results from surrounding states in the Northeast – is that our draconian, timid, most-stringent economy, business-and-job killing restrictions in the region – if not the country – is providing tremendous, needless economic & mental health pain, with zero health benefit,” said O’Scanlon. “New Jersey is months behind other states in reopening indoor dining and gyms–even at a limited capacity–and yet our rate of transmission, deaths & cases is no better than our surrounding states. On virtually every metric we see no benefit to these polices. But the damage is evident. On virtually every economic metric we are underperforming our Northeast neighbors, dramatically on many fronts. If you don’t think these numbers are a big deal, think again. Our taxes and budget decisions will be tortured. Unemployment, mortgage defaults and bankruptcies will impact us all. Our children and grandchildren will be stuck with the bills and consequences. The very survival of New Jersey as we know and love it hangs in the balance.”

A side-by-side comparison (click here for PDF) of six Northeast states, including NY and NJ, highlights that while NJ continues to have the strongest restrictions on reopening, other states like Connecticut and Maryland have been able to reopen economic staples like indoor dining and gyms without sustained surges in their rate of transmission, and with much better economic performance.

“We have abdicated our responsibility as stewards of New Jersey’s fiscal future if we default to giving the Governor credit for inflicting easy, lowest common denominator restrictions that we have proven are unnecessary & economically devastating,” O’Scanlon continued. “New Jersey has the highest unemployment rate of the states we compared, and is projected to have the highest revenue decline by next year. We are also the only state of this group without some percentage of indoor dining and yet our rate of transmission is higher than states that are open. Keeping businesses like restaurants and gyms locked down isn’t doing anything other than decimating our economy. We simply cannot continue on this unnecessary path.”

New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 16.6% (USDOL July report). NJ’s projected to have an 18% revenue decline for FY21 and has as a rate of transmission of 1.1. Alternatively, Connecticut, which has been open at 50% capacity for indoor dining and gyms for months, had a 9.8% unemployment rate, a projected 11% revenue decline for FY21, and a .91 rate of transmission. Versus Connecticut NJ has a 69% higher unemployment rate and a 64% higher revenue shortfall.

“As we have learned from other states there is obviously a balance between safety and economic health, but the administration acts as if NJ is somehow, miraculously different – epidemiologically and economically – from our neighbors. I have news for the Governor, no, we’re not. The Governor’s quotes last week such as that he’s “trying to piece together what indoor dining could look like, what gyms could look like” are particularly distressing. If there is any – slight – benefit to our needlessly dragging our feet on these fronts it’s that we don’t need to wait for the Governor’s secretive brain trust to reinvent the wheel…JUST DO WHAT THESE OTHER STATES HAVE DONE! And do it now before we do any more harm.”

NJ’s unemployment rate at 16.6% is:

  • 28% higher than PA (unemployment rate of 13%)
  • 34% higher than RI (unemployment rate of 12.4%)
  • 41% higher than NH (unemployment rate of 11.8)
  • 69% higher than CT (unemployment rate of 9.8%)
  • 107% higher than MD (unemployment rate of 8%)

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