Republicans Support Call For Hearings On Murphy’s Spending Plan

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee expressed their support for calls by nearly two dozen interest groups for public hearings to be held on the revised budget plan for FY 2021 that Governor Phil Murphy is set to release next week.

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), issued the following joint statement:

“The shortened time frame afforded to us by this year’s adjusted budget calendar shouldn’t be an excuse for the Legislature to forego a public hearing process on tens of billions of spending that Governor Murphy will propose for the upcoming fiscal year.

“When the Legislature approved the extension of the current fiscal year by three months from the end of June to the end of September, no detailed plan was made public or debated on the expenditure of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds. That was a mistake.

“In a time of such great need, we must allow sufficient opportunity for a 9-month budget proposal that will spend approximately $30 billion to be carefully reviewed. We also need the opportunity to understand how more than $5 billion of federal relief funds is being spent to help New Jersey respond to the public health emergency.

“New Jerseyans who will be impacted by the plan deserve the opportunity to be part of the budget process and to inform our decision-making. While rubber stamping whatever budget Governor Murphy puts forward in an expedited committee approval process without public hearings might be the easy thing to do, it also would be the wrong thing to do.”

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