State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco fired back after hearing Gov. Phil Murphy say allocating additional funding for the state’s unemployment would amount to “throwing good money after bad.”
Bucco (R-25) took issue with the governor’s belief that the state should wait to fund systemic changes with its unemployment system until federal changes occurred, saying “I don’t want to waste money in the meantime.”
Bucco argued that with not apparent federal action on the horizon, the state should make the investments needed.
“It defies belief that Governor Murphy would say it’s a ‘waste’ of money to fix our unemployment system for those who need quick access to the benefits they earned to survive,” said Bucco.
$7.8 Allocated for $200 Million Need
The New Jersey Department of Labor estimated it would cost $200 million to institute a full upgrade of the state unemployment system, while the Governor’s plan would allocate just $7.8 million.
Bucco took issue with the budget, saying that spending would be increased by nearly 10% but that unemployment system upgrades were not prioritized.
“Governor Murphy has a multi-billion dollar surplus already banked and is likely to get another $6 billion in federal aid in the coming weeks,” added Bucco. “It’s an insult to every New Jerseyan.”
Waiting for a Better Time
Murphy acknowledged the need for improvements in the unemployment system, but argued it would be wasteful to allocate the full $200 million in one year.
When pressed, the governor said the $7.75 million figure was for one year only and pledged the state make further investments in coming years .
Murphy looked to shift the spotlight to the federal government needing to rebuild its system from scratch. Without that being accomplished, further allocation would be an issue if federal changes came to fruition.
“I think the number in our budget is a reflection of what we think is the right, prudent thing to do to make sure we stay ahead of the game,” he said.