New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Calls Out Murphy for Waiting Too Long to Use CARES Act Funds to Help Municipalities with Pandemic Expenses

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Releasing $60 Million to Local Governments is Less than 25 Percent of What Governor Promised in April, When Federal Money Became Available

In April, New Jersey received $2.4 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money, and six months later, Governor Murphy is just now releasing a small portion of the money to local governments.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Governor Murphy’s allocation of CARES Act funds to local governments is less than 25 percent of what was promised to municipalities in April. (Pixabay)

At a public event in Evesham Township in Burlington County that resembled a campaign photo op for Democrat Congressman Andy Kim, Murphy said he was releasing $60 million to municipal governments, a drop in the bucket compared to what New Jersey towns have spent during the pandemic.

“The Governor sat on this money for six months. He originally proposed $250 million for local governments, and by August, he had downgraded the commitment to $120 million,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. “Now, a half year later, we see the actual allotment is less than one quarter of what he promised, and he still has not made any meaningful money available to small businesses and nonprofits.

“This is a classic example of ‘too little, too late.’ The time when our municipalities desperately needed help was months ago, when they were struggling to reopen public facilities and needed help addressing unexpected revenue losses, increased cleaning and sanitizing expenses, and other costs related to reopening for business,” Kean said.

Senate Republicans immediately began calling on the Murphy to quickly distribute CARES Act funding to local governments back in April when Federal guidance made it clear that was not only possible but encouraged. The Murphy Administration, however, delayed and rejected efforts to help towns and businesses, and continue to hold onto the bulk of the $2.4 billion in the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

“The Governor’s delay of timely and meaningful help local governments was inexcusable,” Kean said. “It’s matched only by his failure to make substantial CARES Act funds available to businesses and nonprofits – more and more of which are giving up and closing their doors every day that help is denied them.”

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