Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths today voted against the borrowing bill, which would allow up to at least $14 billion in new borrowing without voter approval, which runs afoul of the state Constitution’s debt limitation amendment and the 2004 Lance vs. McGreevey decision, which further limited borrowing without voter approval.
 
“The bill is reprehensible,” said Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris).  “This is giving the Murphy administration an almost unlimited credit line.  We know their appetite for high taxes, more spending, and more government in our lives and allowing them to have their ability to borrow that amount of money without voter approval is unconscionable.”
 
The bill (A4147) passed the Assembly with all Republicans united in opposition.
 
“New Jerseyans are smart,” said Wirths (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris), the Assembly Republican budget officer. “Why can’t we ask the voters for approval to make sure it’s done properly?  ‘Wacko’ borrowing schemes, which never went before the voters, is how New Jersey got into a never-ending fiscal mess.  There are a lot more opportunities to save money that the legislature and the Murphy administration should be doing immediately.”
 
In addition to the massive amount of borrowing without voter approval, Space and Wirths do not trust the Democrat-controlled state government not to raise taxes in order to pay back the debt.
 
“We are in rough times, no doubt,” said Space, himself a small business owner who was forced to shut down for over a month.  “But I fear that this new debt will lead to massive tax hikes.”
 
Currently, New Jersey owes $218 billion worth of debt ($44.4 billion in bonded debt, $94 billion in pension debt, and $76 billion in health benefits) and according to the state debt report, New Jersey has the fourth-highest per capita debt in the country and the highest property taxes in the nation.
 
“We cannot afford this,” said Wirths.  “The bills will have to be paid somehow if this borrowing is enacted and there will be no choice that new taxes and tax increases are going to happen.  Anybody who says otherwise is being disingenuous.  The damage this bill will do to taxpayers, who are already extremely stressed, is unnecessary.”