The League of Municipalities’ position on the Governor’s proposed FY 21 budget has been presented by League President Jim Perry and League Executive Director Mike Cerra to the members of both the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee. That testimony states, in part:
"As leaders in the level of government closest to the people and their concerns, Mayors and local governing bodies remain committed to meeting the trials that face our State, now, and that will continue to challenge our resourcefulness, in the months ahead. Municipalities have been essential in flattening the curve. The State’s recovery is impossible without them.
"If adopted by the Legislature, the Governor’s proposal, combined with appropriations for the August 1 payment, which were included in the July-September three-month bridge budget, would hold combined appropriations for Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief (ETR) and Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid (CMPTRA) level for the balance of the year. While level funding is not full funding, Governor Murphy continues to propose budgets without further deep cuts to these vital, unrestricted, statewide municipal property tax relief programs.
"Respectfully, we urge you to approve that funding."
The letter testimony also expresses support for level funding in Transitional Aid, Capital City Aid, Open Space Payments in Lieu of Taxes, and Highlands Protection Fund Aid. It urges the Legislature to authorize the Governor’s proposed $120 million local government emergency fund, to be administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). This program is intended to defray eligible municipal public safety and public health expenses for municipalities in the 12 counties that did not receive direct federal funding through the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
The League’s statement notes a number of concerns with the Governor’s proposal specifically:
- It would eliminate funding ($4 million in SFY ’20) for Meadowlands Tax-Sharing Payments;
- It would divert over $30 million from Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars to be used for other programs;
- It would divert $12 million from the State Recycling Trust Fund and $10 million, from the Clean Communities Trust Fund, both to be used to offset State Parks management costs.
We have asked the Legislature to address these concerns. We will keep you posted as the State speeds toward its September 30 deadline for budget adoption.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.