TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Phil Murphy issued a dire warning on Sunday, saying New Jersey could start laying off essential workers, including first responders and teachers, if the state doesn’t get more money from the federal government.
“We announced the budget on Friday for the next four months and we had to cut or defer over $5 billion of expenditures and this includes potentially laying off educators, firefighters, police, EMS, health care workers. This is not abstract. This is real. It’s not a blue state issue. It’s an American issue,” Murphy said.
On Friday, the governor said the coronavirus health emergency is projected to leave a $10 billion hole in the budget through June of 2021.
“Much of what we’re going to depend upon to lift us up off the mat, simply won’t be there for us,” Murphy said. “We won’t be able to support our small businesses we won’t be able to help families get back to par. And all the work that we have done to put our fiscal house back in order with back-to-back record surpluses, the savings we’ve gleaned in healthcare, the deposits into our rainy day fund, all of that will be small.”
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So far, the White House has been reluctant to give states more federal funding.
“Every day, it seems this becomes a more and more bipartisan endeavor. And that’s because more and more people in both parties, by the way, are seeing what the support means. But there are also just as many minds that remain closed and intractable, and one of those closed minds controls the Senate agenda,” Murphy said.
While he said he is not asking Washington for a bailout, Murphy made it clear money is needed to pay front-line workers, sanitation workers, and to assist the over-burdened Department of Labor.
“I remain ever hopeful that this package will get to the president’s desk and be signed and I will continue to push this case with the president and his team,” Murphy said.