Former State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff raised a number of issues about New Jersey’s state finances in an op-ed that ran yesterday in NJ Spotlight.
New Jersey’s financial situation has deteriorated rapidly as tax revenues have plummeted amidst an economic shutdown aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Sidamon-Eristoff’s op-ed, in the form of an open letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, points out a number of specific issues that will need to be addressed between now and the new end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.
Sidamon-Eristoff urged Murphy to update the state’s revenue picture and be upfront about the need to “pare back” his FY 2021 budget proposal. So far, the governor has acknowledged only that state revenues have “fallen off a cliff.” Additionally, no information has been made public on how much the state is spending to fight the coronavirus.
“The absence of timely financial information is fueling a growing sense of confusion and disarray at the state level,” he writes.
The former state treasurer also urged the governor to get serious about curtailing state spending. While his administration has frozen $920 million in state appropriations for the current year, that represents only 2% of adjusted appropriations, he said.
“The sooner you take meaningful action, the less disruptive and harmful the impact will be,” Sidamon-Eristoff stated.
He also raised a number of questions about the COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act, pension payments, benefits reforms, and other policies in light of the unprecedented economic shutdown.
He concluded by urging the governor to be open to new ways of approaching financial issues.
“You deserve every New Jerseyan’s goodwill and cooperation as you strive to lead our wounded state through these difficult times,” Sidamon-Eristoff wrote. “I hope you will receive this in good faith, as intended, and that you will be open to alternative ideas and perspectives in meeting the challenges ahead.”