But it’s not a bailout, Governor Phil Murphy (D) insists.
“I wouldn’t call it a bailout. I would just say this is a war, we’re at the front lines,” Murphy said, stressing that his state does not want federal help at this time for “legacy” budget issues that predate the pandemic.
“We know what we got to do with the old legacy stuff, we need help with the here and now: educators, police, fire, EMS, the front-line stuff.”
Of course…. To the extent that any Federal dollars should go to States, New Jersey for instance, those dollars should go directly to the educators, police, fire, EMS, the front-line stuff; they should not pass through the State government on the way.
And: to mitigate the fungibility of money, those Federal dollars should be matched by State dollars. A State government should not be able simply to reallocate the funds it would already have been sending to “the front-line stuff” to other purposes on the premise that Uncle Sugar is picking up the front-line tab.
…if we do not get significant direct and flexible financial support from the federal government, we will be forced to make many difficult decisions about programs we all rely upon and which we will lean on in the months ahead.
What decisions to make vis-à-vis excessive public pension commitments and payouts, for instance. Regarding excessive and overwrought regulations that cost tremendous amounts to enforce and tremendous amounts for businesses and individuals to satisfy, and so that divert monies from their more efficient allocations and thereby restrain economic activity and reduce revenues to the State’s government.
Difficult decisions, indeed.