Oroho Responds to Murphy Administration’s Release of Overdue Proposal for Using Federal Pandemic Relief Funds
Senate Republicans Proposed a Comprehensive Plan in April
Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) responded to the Murphy Administration’s release of a long-overdue proposal for the allocation of billions in federal pandemic relief funds that were delivered to New Jersey in May through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“I look forward to finally having the opportunity to review the Murphy administration’s proposal for using billions in federal relief funds that were sent to New Jersey six months ago,” said Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer and incoming Republican Leader. “At first blush, however, it appears the administration’s plan is grossly incomplete and fails to address key needs for New Jersey. Many months ago, Republicans offered a detailed proposal that would help workers and small businesses, support tenants and landlords, invest in infrastructure improvements, fix broken computer systems at unemployment and the MVC, and prevent unnecessary tax increases on employers. Unfortunately, most of those important priorities still haven’t been addressed.”
Oroho serves as a member of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC), which must review and approve the governor’s plan for the use of the federal funds. A PDF of the Governor’s proposal can be viewed here.
After the state’s $6.2 billion allocation under ARPA was reported in April, the Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee outlined a framework for the State of New Jersey to responsibly utilize the federal relief funds with legislative approval.
In June, the Republican proposal was formalized through a budget resolution submitted to legislative leaders, which Democrats failed to act upon.
Throughout the summer, Republicans pushed the Murphy administration to put the billions in idle funds to use. In August, Republican Budget Committee members sent a letter to Governor Murphy and the Democrat co-chairs of the JBOC expressing concern that just 0.005% of the $6.2 billion had been deployed.
In early September, Senate and Assembly Republicans urged their Democrat colleagues to sign a petition that would force Governor Murphy to call a special session of the Legislature to put the federal funds to work to prevent a payroll tax increase on employers and restore stability to the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund.
Not a single Democrat responded to any of the Republican proposals offered since April while billions in federal relief funds sat unused in a State bank account.
Oroho noted that the administration’s new proposal only addresses a few hundred million dollars of the billions available, providing the opportunity for the governor and his team to come back with a better plan.
“Unfortunately, months have been wasted, taxes have been raised on small businesses, and New Jersey now has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the nation,” Oroho added. “All of that could have and should have been prevented. The Murphy administration can’t undo the harm that’s already been done, but it can work to enact a comprehensive plan as we’ve proposed using the billions in relief funds that are still available.”