Murphy signs nearly $8B stopgap budget

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed a nearly $8 billion stopgap budget, whose deadline was extended to Sept. 30 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Murphy described the budget as “bare bones” during a news conference in Trenton. The three-month spending plan runs from Tuesday through Sept. 30, the new deadline Murphy and the Democrat-led Legislature enacted because of falling state revenues stemming from the outbreak.

The budget cuts $1.2 billion authorized earlier this year, and leaves out $850 million in new spending Murphy had sought earlier this year. Murphy said it amounts to a 5% across-the-board cut for non-salary operating costs, and a 10% cut in discretionary grants.

The budget includes a nearly $1 billion surplus through Sept. 30. That reflects an improved revenue forecast, compared with a recent revenue estimate from May. The better-than-expected revenue reflects higher sales tax revenues, which is the result of the state's reopening from the outbreak, according to the governor.

Lawmakers and Murphy now must enact a nine-month budget that will run from Oct. 1 through June 30, 2021.