Mayors lend support to Murphy’s budget plan

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. announced his support of Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal to borrow $9 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve to balance the state budget. On May 29, DiVincenzo sent a letter of support to the governor. Included with this letter are signatures from 17 Essex County mayors in support of this move.

“We are all aware that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the physical health of our residents as well as the fiscal stability of New Jersey’s finances. As the state stands to face a revenue shortfall of approximately $10 billion through the 2021 fiscal year, in addition to having to cover the unexpected expenditures necessary to continue combatting the coronavirus, it is imperative that the state find an alternative means to balance its budget. In the absence of support from the federal government, we believe the most prudent step to take is to borrow $9 billion to cover the shortfall,” DiVincenzo wrote in the letter.

DiVincenzo noted that if the state budget is negatively impacted and extreme cost-cutting and layoffs were made, counties and municipalities also would be adversely affected, since the local governments rely on the state for grants and other revenue support.

Among those mayors who have signed the letter with DiVincenzo, Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss is adamant about the importance of receiving resources to help aid in the deficit caused by the pandemic.

“I am definitely 100 percent in support of this plan,” Vauss said on June 1. “I can speak for the rest of the mayors who’ve signed on that it is important that we receive the resources to help aid in the deficit caused by this pandemic. I would like to thank our county executive for his leadership and for leading the way for Essex County to receive the most needed resources. This plan will help the county and municipalities deal with budget deficits to avoid massive layoffs and or furlough plans.”

Also signing the letter was Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, who applauds the governor’s vision.

“It is imperative that the governor take bold actions like this and other initiatives that he launched in the state,” Warren said on June 1. “New Jersey is a unique densely populated compilation of municipalities that deliver vital human services and that play a large role in the state’s economic well-being. Any spending cuts that would be required to balance the state budget will undoubtedly affect the aid and resources municipalities receive. From education and social services to transportation and jobs, cities like Orange rely on the state for assistance and support.

“The governor’s vision for New Jersey was good for Orange and the entire region. COVID-19 has altered the path to implementing the governor’s vision,” he continued. “This borrowing plan places the state on the right track to avoid having to make the kind of budget cuts that would be most painfully felt by municipalities and the constituents we serve. Therefore, it is fitting that the governor moves boldly forward with his borrowing plan.”

Also included in the signing was East Orange Mayor Ted Green, who supports Murphy and DiVincenzo in this endeavor.

“East Orange and Essex County are among the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 in New Jersey, and there is no doubt that we will require additional funding support to help us combat the virus, flatten the curve and recover from the crisis,” Green said on June 1. “I am happy to support Gov. Phil Murphy and our Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo in taking the necessary steps to ensure that our state budget reflects the needs of cities battling this unprecedented pandemic. The proposal to borrow $9 billion to cover the gap left in the state budget is the right thing to do, as the No. 1 priority of government should always be to protect the health and well-being of its residents.”