Morris Doesn’t Make Federal Aid Cut, But…

Senate Lion: LD27 Senator Dick Codey talks about NJEDA tax incentive programs

Morris County needs more people. And if that fails, let’s forget about the letter of the law – by a tiny bit at least.

That’s today’s bipartisan appeal by federal and state representatives regarding the coronavirus.

The latest figures put the county’s population at 491,845.

That’s impressive, but it’s not 500,000. So ….

The so what is that counties of 500,000 or more are in line for direct relief from the federal CARES act or $2 trillion-plus stimulus bill.

So, Morris misses the cut by a bit more than 8,000 people.

The math has prompted Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and two state senators representing parts of the county, Democrat Richard Codey and Republican Anthony M. Bucco, to come together in an
across-the-aisle appeal.

In a letter to the governor, the trio asks the state to send some of the $3.44 billion it is receiving under the CARES Act direct to Morris to help fight the virus. So instead of getting money direct from the
feds. Morris – and its 491,000 or so residents – would be getting it direct from the state.

The letter suggests the state should not distinguish between a county with 491,000 people and those with, say, 501,826 (Passaic) and 506,343 (Camden) in terms of aid even if the federal formula does precisely that.

And in line with a local belief that Morris always does things extremely well, the letter offers a whole list of areas where the county is fighting the virus.

They include beginning the effort in February, which was before some other jurisdictions, opening multiple testing sites, hiring an epidemiologist, treating inmates and juvenile offenders from around
the state in county facilities and financially supporting an array of social services with a limited staff, including food banks.

The letter says that in regard to funding, Gov. Murphy should treat Morris identical to Camden and Passaic counties even if those counties make the 500,000 population cutoff and Morris does not.

Let’s realize there are uncompromising standards everywhere in the law – and in life. There may not be much of a distinction in real terms between someone who just turned 21 and someone who is 20 years and 10 months.

But in the eyes of the law, only one of those individuals can legally belly up to the bar and have a few beers.

It can be a bitter pill, but technicalities matter. So it will be interesting to see how far the argument at hand goes.

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