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If the numbers found in the FY2021 budget weren’t eye-opening enough, how New Jersey’s leadership got there without any governance or transparency was even more disturbing.

That’s the take from NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka in her latest op-ed posted in the Asbury Park Press over the weekend.

The Murphy administration and legislative leaders recently reached an agreement on a nine-month $32.7 billion plan that raised two major taxes, increased spending by $1.7 billion and authorized $4.5 billion in unnecessary borrowing.

Siekerka said, “It was made public prior to any discussion with the legislative caucuses or public hearings and without any budget details being shared.

“In fact, many leaders of state departments were never called to testify, not even by video conference. The state Senate opted to discontinue virtual testimony by the public, leaving no choice to weigh in except in person, during a pandemic.”

Siekerka said this lack of governance and transparency, particularly on such weighty issues as the state budget, needs to change for New Jersey’s sake. Without it, she said, the result of this “poor budget process” was “new taxes for one of the most taxed states in the nation and increased borrowing for a state with the honor of being the most indebted in the nation.”

To read the full op-ed, click here.