September 19, 2021

New Jersey Republicans want governor to start spending federal COVID-19 relief money

2 min read

Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee want New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to start spending the more than $6.2 billion in COVID-19 relief funds the federal government sent to the state.

The money was allocated as part of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP). The lawmakers say that according to the Office of Legislative Services (OLS), “all but $316,000 of these funds remain sitting idle in two State accounts.”

“Ending bureaucratic hurdles to getting money to people who need help should be a no-brainer,” the lawmakers wrote. “It’s an embarrassment that only $316,000 out of more than $6.2 billion has been put to use when the State received funds three months ago.”

Representatives for the governor, who recently returned from a vacation in Italy, did not respond to a request for more information. Murphy, a Democrat, has previously announced allocations of some of the federal dollars.

In June, the governor announced the state would use $600 million from the ARP to fund a one-year extension of public education and related services for thousands of students with disabilities. In July, Murphy signed legislation to appropriate $100 million to support child care in New Jersey.

There has been no shortage of ideas for spending the funds. Ideas lawmakers have floated include using it to avoid an unemployment insurance (UI) tax increase and funding an IT modernization project to upgrade its unemployment and motor vehicle computer systems.

The governor also previously indicated he might consider using some of the funds for $40 million in “stimulus payments” to undocumented immigrants in New Jersey.

This article was originally posted on New Jersey Republicans want governor to start spending federal COVID-19 relief money

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