Josh Gottheimer likes to talk about “clawing” money back from “moocher states.”
These are states that normally receive much more federal aid than their residents pay in taxes. New Jersey, of course, has long been on the opposite end of things; its residents pay more in federal taxes than the state gets in aid.
For years, this problem has been political fodder for officials and candidates on both sides of the aisle. But in the midst of a pandemic, it’s probably more important than it was six months ago.
So Gottheimer today calculated the total amount of pandemic-related aid his Fifth District has received from Washington. He said in a conference call that this figure includes an array of federal initiatives – the Payment Protection Program, the stimulus, unemployment and all aspects of the CARES Act.
Some of these payments have gone to hospitals, first responders and non-profits.
The total for the district, which covers at least parts of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties is about $3 billion, which he said averages out to $4, 021 per resident.
The county breakdown is as follows:
Bergen – $2.38 billion.
Sussex – $277 million
Warren – $216 million
Passaic – $122 million.
The congressman said all 79 towns in the district have received some form of aid.
The need has been apparent.
While the number of statewide COVID-19 cases are declining, Gottheimer said the district has had about 40,000 cases and that 3,557 people have died.
The federal help, while impressive, is not enough.
Like all New Jersey Democrats, Gottheimer condemned a pandemic relief bill just-released by Senate Republicans because it includes “zero dollars” for state and local governments.
He called that “unacceptable.”