Sweeney Reacts to Pew Report on State Borrowing
TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today in response to the analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Sector Retirement Systems Project on the potential benefits and costs to New Jersey of borrowing from the federal Municipal Liquidities Fund (MLF):
“I am grateful to Pew’s expert team for their excellent work and their willingness to work with us and other states in promoting the fiscal stability of public pension systems.
“This is valuable information that will help guide all of us in making vital decisions on state finances. More detailed analysis like this is needed as the state moves forward on planning the next several budgets. There are numerous factors that are still unknown, including the performance of state revenues, the availability of additional federal funding, future levels of unemployment, and the potential economic impact of a second wave of the coronavirus.
“As the report notes, the federal repayment schedule for MLF loans should be extended from three years to five years, which Pew has recommended and we support. In the absence of an effort by the federal government to respond fully to this crisis, this would be the least they can do.
“We should want to be as informed as possible in making these critically important decisions that will shape our future. Borrowing in the billions to balance the FY 2021 budget will have a lasting impact on our ability to provide vital public services and to fund programs important to our quality of life. It’s not a one-year problem that can be cured with one-shot solutions. We have to balance the desire for funds now with the impact of debt in the years ahead.
“I will work with the administration, with my colleagues in the Legislature and with organizations and individuals to gather as much information as possible to make the best decisions for New Jersey and our future.”