NJBIA President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq. issued the following statement regarding Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed nine-month, FY 2021 budget next week.
“As NJBIA often stated regarding the new bonding law, it is imperative that a multi-year fiscal plan that includes spending reductions and structural reforms accompany this budget proposal.
“There needs to be a glidepath to responsibly using any borrowed funds, diminishing year-over-year, to stabilize the next few budgets without paying for any new spending and/or causing a fiscal cliff.
“Any use of borrowed funds should be limited to maintaining existing and truly necessary spending that if cut would cause significant harm. These include debt service, Medicaid, school aid and programs for our most vulnerable residents.
“There must be no new taxes in this plan, as they are completely inappropriate and unnecessary in the short-term with the potential infusion of $9.9 billion. The very businesses that would pay any new tax imposed by the state are the same ones that have been limited or closed for months under orders imposed by the state.
“Serious conversations may be necessary in the future to determine how to afford the debt service created by this bonding scheme after those borrowed monies have gone. However, in the middle of the economic devastation caused by this pandemic, while billions of dollars have just been authorized, it is not the time to increase anyone’s tax burden.
“In addition, significant structural reforms will put us in a strong position to be able to afford potential debt service increases after the borrowed monies run out.
“Pre-COVID-19, NJBIA was already worried about ballooning budgets and ever-escalating taxes. Now that concern is only amplified. With fiscal discipline and political resolve, this crisis could be an opportunity to right-size our state budget, or it could be the last nudge that pushes us over the looming fiscal cliff.
“NJBIA understands the public health measures the Murphy administration has taken, but we believe that a better balance concerning our state economy is needed. NJBIA looks forward to working with the administration and the Legislature to achieve that balance in this budget and going forward for our economy.”