Middletown, N.J. – Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth) criticizes Governor Phil Murphy’s latest budget proposal as the state’s economy continues to sink further in the wake of unrelenting lockdown measures, colossal borrowing plans, and lack of effective cost saving applications pushing New Jersey ever so closer to Depression era fallout:
 
“New Jersey’s economy was decimated long before the coronavirus pandemic became the scapegoat,” said Scharfenberger. “For the last 2 ½ years, we’ve seen an explosion of spending and tax increases weakening an already overburdened state. When Governor Murphy took office in 2018, the budget was $34.7 billion, now it’s ballooned to $40.1 billion - COVID-19 can’t solely be blamed for that.”
 
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey businesses heeded the call by the Governor to halt operations for the good of the publics’ health and to flatten the curve. They did so with the promise of a light at the end of the tunnel; however, the light offered has turned into a train of continued restrictions with ever-increasing benchmarks pushing economic recovery further down the line - negatively impacting both businesses and the state’s finances:
 

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“The Governor’s continuously excessive, hardline lockdown policies have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in sorely needed revenues on top of the incalculable fiscal damages for our small businesses,” Scharfenberger continued. “Coupled with enormous job losses in just about every sector, New Jersey taxpayers are facing a torturous economic future cloaked in uncertainty. Clearly, much of the budget stress facing us is self-inflicted by NJ’s and the Governor’s policies in the past and now.”
 
In the end, the swift move to borrow billions from the Federal Government appears in great haste as there are still many questions even after today’s budget address as to what the funds will be spent on before they disappear into the black hole that is New Jersey’s General Fund and residents are left footing the bill:
 
“Making matters worse, we still don’t have a clear path forward and explanation for where and how these borrowed funds will be spent before Trenton puts another burden on New Jerseyans in the form of a property tax surcharge,” Scharfenberger stated.  “CARES Act funds are still in limbo which could’ve been used to soften the economic blow, but instead those monies are being hoarded without so much as a clue as to why.”