New Jersey's 12th Legislative District

Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republicans Propose Balanced Budget Without Murphy’s Billions in Borrowing & Tax Increases

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Evidence Mounting State Revenues Performing Better than Administration Will Admit

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee offered a path to a balanced State Budget for 2021 that does not rely on the billions of dollars of borrowing and tax increases proposed by Governor Phil Murphy.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee offered a path to a balanced State Budget for 2021 that does not rely on the billions of dollars of borrowing and tax increases proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy. (SenateNJ.com)

The Republican plan was proposed in a letter (click here for PDF) to the majority Senate Democrats from Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1).

“The Murphy Administration has done everything possible to avoid being transparent with legislators and the public about the true state of the State’s finances,” said Oroho. “Despite the doomsday picture that’s being painted to engender support for the governor’s plan to tax and borrow billions, we have mounting evidence that State revenues are performing much better than the administration will admit. Based on the improving trends reported by nonpartisan budget analysts, we have put forward a fiscally responsible plan to balance the State budget without the harmful and expensive gimmicks proposed by the governor.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republican Budget Members Call for Open, Informed & Transparent Hearing Process on Murphy’s Revised FY21 Spending Plan

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Call for Governor to Immediately Release Detailed Budget Proposal for Legislators and Public to Review

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee said a total lack of transparency from the Murphy Administration and a superficial budget hearing process announced by the Senate Majority will provide neither legislators nor the public the opportunity to vet Governor Phil Murphy’s revised FY 2021 State Budget proposal.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee said a total lack of transparency from the Murphy Administration and a superficial budget hearing process announced by the Senate Majority will provide neither legislators nor the public the opportunity to vet Gov. Phil Murphy’s revised FY 2021 State Budget proposal. (Pixabay)

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), issued the following joint statement:

“We were willing to give Governor Murphy the benefit of the doubt when he said that extending the State’s fiscal year was necessary to respond to the financial challenges of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it does not look like he has made good use of this extra time.

“Despite the extra three months the governor was given, no detailed budget has been produced or made available for the public or legislators to review. That’s leading to a rushed and superficial budget hearing process that will have no actual budget to examine or provide any opportunity for direct public input or testimony.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republican Budget Members: Murphy’s New Spending Plan Shows No Fiscal Restraint, Ignores Opportunities to Help Taxpayers & Get People Back to Work

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The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee said Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget plan for FY 2021 is little changed from the pre-COVID budget he proposed in February, except for the addition of billions in borrowing.

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee said Governor Phil Murphy’s revised budget plan for 2021 is little changed from the pre-COVID budget he proposed in February, except for the addition of billions in borrowing. (Pixabay)

They said he continues to oversell the fiscal impact of the coronavirus on the State’s finances, while ignoring opportunities to help taxpayers and get people back to work.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republican Budget Members Support Calls for Public Hearings on Murphy’s Spending Plan

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The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee expressed their support for calls by nearly two dozen interest groups for public hearings to be held on the revised budget plan for FY 2021 that Governor Phil Murphy is set to release next week.

The Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee expressed their support for calls by nearly two dozen interest groups for public hearings to be held on the revised budget plan for FY 2021 that Gov. Phil Murphy is set to release next week. (SenateNJ.com)

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), issued the following joint statement:

“The shortened time frame afforded to us by this year’s adjusted budget calendar shouldn’t be an excuse for the Legislature to forego a public hearing process on tens of billions of spending that Governor Murphy will propose for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson: Voters Who Bring VBM Ballots to Polling Center Should Be Allowed to Vote by Machine

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Senator Sam Thompson said he has urged Governor Phil Murphy to allow voters who bring their unopened vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots to a polling center on Election Day to cast their votes in a machine.

Sen. Sam Thompson said he has urged Gov. Murphy to allow voters who bring their unopened VBM ballots to a polling center on Election Day to cast their votes in a machine. (SenateNJ.com)

“My office is being inundated with calls and emails from people who are livid that they are being forced by executive order to vote in the upcoming presidential election by mail-in ballot,” said Thompson (R-12). “They trust the security of a voting booth and they are willing to tolerate whatever risk is associated with spending the five minutes it takes to cast their ballot in-person to ensure their vote is counted.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

As State Tax Collections Improve, Republican Budget Members Call on Treasurer to Update Financial Disclosures

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Gov. Murphy Continues to Claim $10 Billion Revenue Loss, Which Is Misleading and Exaggerated

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee wrote a letter (click here for PDF) to New Jersey Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio urging the State to file new disclosure statements with financial markets to correct grossly pessimistic revenue forecasts. They said an estimated $10 billion revenue loss that Governor Murphy continues to reference is “misleading and exaggerated.”

The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee urged N.J. Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio to file new disclosure statements with financial markets to correct grossly pessimistic revenue forecasts, saying an estimated $10 billion revenue loss that Gov. Murphy continues to reference is “misleading and exaggerated.” (©iStock)

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), noted that actual sales tax collections for June were down just 4.6% compared to the same period last year, while the Murphy Administration had estimated a 30% loss. Similarly, they said non-partisan revenue forecasters believe both the Gross Income Tax and Corporate Business Tax have meaningfully exceeded May projections.

They warned: “If an ordinary citizen were to knowingly exaggerate their financial condition and need for money in an effort to secure federal loans and grants, they would risk charges of fraud and prosecution.”

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Senator Sam Thompson

ICYMI – Thompson’s Budget Committee Remarks on Democrats’ $10 Billion Borrowing Scheme

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Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) delivered the following remarks during the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee today panning a $10 billion borrowing plan (S-2697/A-4175) proposed by Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders that could cost New Jersey taxpayers tens of billions in debt and interest payments over the next 35 years:

Sen. Sam Thompson’s remarks during the Senate Budget Committee’s consideration of a $10 billion borrowing scheme being advanced by Gov. Murphy and Democrat legislators. (Pixabay)

First off Mr. Chairman, I’d like to say I’m sorry this bill is being rushed. It is indeed unfortunate that this meeting, despite a bill not even being available to the public and not having been introduced yet, was scheduled Friday night with no meaningful notice. The pace at which this bill is moving is unnecessary.

The bill is simple. It’s giving authority to the Governor to issue $10 billion of debt to wash into the 2021 budget that starts October 1. It will be a one-shot revenue, leaving up to a $10 billion budget hole to be fixed in 2022 by either Governor or his successor. Worse than leaving today’s problem to be fixed in 2022, the borrowing will make the problem much worse by adding tens of billions of dollars of interest payments and hundreds of millions of dollars in financial fees and commissions.

The borrowing is incredibly irresponsible. It’s four times larger than the next biggest borrowing in the state’s history. It will throw a $10 billion anchor around the necks of people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Statements from Senate Republican Budget Members on Democrats’ $10 Billion Borrowing Scheme

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The Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee issued the following statements in response to a private, partisan agreement between Governor Phil Murphy and Democrat legislative leaders to borrow $10 billion to fund State spending next year.

Statements from Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee in response to a private, partisan agreement between Gov. Phil Murphy and Democrat legislative leaders to borrow $10 billion to fund State spending next year. (Pixabay)

Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24): “My predecessor, Senator Bob Littell, called a debt issuance one-quarter this size in 1997 ‘wacko.’ Today, taxpayers are still paying off that debt. This debt issuance is ‘wacko’ on steroids. It’s billions of debt for operating expenses with tens of billions of interest more, and won’t be paid off for decades. It’s unbelievably irresponsible. I appreciate the magnitude of the fiscal crisis we are in, but we haven’t even exhausted other fiscal management practices. This borrowing scheme is reckless behavior that will only exacerbate our problems long term.”

Senator Michael Testa (R-1): “The Governor and Democrats agreeing to issue $10 billion of debt for operating expenses isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s insane. Taxpayers will be paying for this madness for the next 35 years.”

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republicans Pan Murphy’s Watered Down Furlough Bill

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Entire Caucus to Vote “NO” on Murphy’s Conditional Veto of S-2350/A-4132

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee panned Governor Phil Murphy’s recommended changes to legislation approved by the Legislature with broad bipartisan support in mid-May that would have allowed the State to more easily and quickly furlough non-essential public employees while they were unable to work with the federal government picking up all of the tab of unemployment benefits.

Senate Republicans panned Gov. Murphy’s furlough plan as ‘too little, too late,’ saying his delayed action has left hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table, and will leave State government offices understaffed just as they begin to reopen facing a backlog in citizen needs. (Pixabay)

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), issued the following joint statement prior to today’s Senate session when the entire Senate Republican caucus will vote “NO” on accepting the the governor’s recommendations in his conditional veto of S-2350/A-4132:

“Like many aspects of Governor Murphy’s response to the coronavirus crisis, his delayed action on furloughs is too little, too late. By failing to enact the original legislation when it passed the Legislature in May with overwhelming bipartisan support, he left hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table. Even worse, the cost of furloughing workers going forward will be paid almost 100% by New Jersey taxpayers, when the cost of the original bill would have been picked up entirely by the federal government. To say the governor’s inaction represents a missed opportunity would be an understatement.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Senate Republican Budget Members to Vote Against $7.7 Billion Budget Extension Bill

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The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee will vote against a massive $7.7 billion spending bill (S-20) to extend the FY 2020 State Budget after the Murphy Administration refused to consider responsible options to achieve savings.

The four Republican members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee will vote against a massive $7.7 billion spending bill to extend the FY 2020 State Budget after the Murphy Administration refused to consider responsible options to achieve savings. (Pixabay)

The members, Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho (R-24), Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), and Senator Michael Testa (R-1), issued the following joint statement:

“Since the beginning of the public health emergency, Senate Republicans have sought to work collaboratively with Governor Murphy and our colleagues in the Legislature to address the many challenges facing New Jersey, including a State Budget shortfall resulting from significant tax revenue losses. We have offered thoughtful solutions to save money and increase revenues without raising taxes or resorting to unconstitutional borrowing.

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