Borrowing program could take 12 weeks to set up — assuming it is not delayed by courts

Gov. Phil Murphy again praised the Legislature for passing a bill allowing for the potential borrowing of up to $9.9 billion. But, court challenges withstanding, he said no one should expect the state to instantly get that type of money.

“This does not happen like snapping fingers,” he said. “This is going to be a many-week process.”

Murphy said he hopes he’s wrong, but that his administration said it might take as much as 12 weeks to actually execute this plan.

Speaking at his COVID-19 briefing Friday, Murphy reiterated that he feels the state has no choice but to borrow.

“This is obviously not a step that any of us ever wished to have to take,” he said. “Our administration has worked incredibly hard over the past two years to point our state in an entirely new fiscal direction — we had record-high surpluses, record-low reliance on one-shots and we had made the first deposit in a decade into the Rainy Day Fund.

“But, today, it is pouring. We have produced a three-month budget that cuts deeply into the programs that millions of residents rely upon, and will be producing a new Fiscal Year 2021 budget that does that, and more. Yet, the brutal reality we face is that cuts simply will not be enough, given the storm that is raging around us. We simply can’t cut our way out of this.”

Other notes from the briefing:

Hospital metrics

The rate of transmission — or the number of new cases an existing case creates — jumped over the 1.0 line at 1.11, but the rest of the numbers looked good.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, there 844 people hospitalized, including 139 in ICUs but only 65 on ventilators. The positivity rate, from July 13, was 1.66%.

There were 202 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the state total to 176,551. And there were 20 more fatalities, pushing the state total to 13,710 — plus 1,947 probable fatalities

One interesting note on the fatalities: Only seven came within the past five days — and only 13 are from the month of July.

School reopening

Murphy said the was not bothered that New Jersey Education Association President Marie Blistan said the state’s 3,000 public schools likely will not have enough time to reopen on schedule.


Murphy, who said he is confident about sending his own children back to school, said he is supporter of Blistan’s and is happy to hear all sides of the discussion.

More on openings

Murphy said there’s no news on the potential reopening of gyms or anything else.

“Really nothing new on the reopening stuff, we’re largely in a holding pattern,” he said.

The final word

Murphy, incredulous that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing the city of Atlanta, saying it cannot require residents to wear masks.

If you don’t like our leadership here, why don’t you go down to Georgia and see how that feels.”

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