State lawmakers want to stop the governor from spending federal money without input from state lawmakers
This week, Senators Steven Oroho and Michael Testa introduced legislation to strip Governor Murphy of the power to spend billions in federal stimulus and relief funds without legislative support.
The new legislation S-3712, would eliminate language in the state budget that grants the executive branch the unilateral authority to appropriate any “emergency disaster aid” and “economic stimulus” funds New Jersey receives from the federal government during the fiscal year. Testa and Oroho said Governor Murphy refused to comply with the spirit of the existing budget language, which is intended to speed the delivery of federal relief in times of emergency. Additionally, they believe the scale and scope of permitted uses of pandemic relief funds demands oversight from the legislature with involvement of the public. Last April, New Jersey received $2.4 billion in relief funds from the federal government through the CARES ACT to support the State’s response to COVID-19. With another 46.5 billion in federal relief funds coming to New Jersey through the recently approved ARP Act, the Senator’s believe the time to address the budget language is now.