Next 3 weeks is ‘do or die’: Why Murphy feels coming days are crucial for getting federal aid

Perhaps it’s because his own budget is due Aug. 25 — or that money New Jersey potentially can borrow is even further away — but Gov. Phil Murphy said the next few weeks are crucial to the state’s coffers.

Murphy, speaking at his COVID-19 briefing Monday, once again pushed the federal government to act on providing aid to the states.

“This is the moment right now,” he said. “The next three weeks is ‘do or die.’

“I can’t tell you exactly what happens to our services or our finances without that federal cash, but it’s ugly. So, we need both the borrowing — and the federal support.”

In the past, Murphy has said the state needs $20 billion to $30 billion in assistance for costs heading into the end of calendar year 2021.

“The analysis is not the complicated,” he said.

“The $20-30 billion was in that period (through the end of 2021) and all it was taking the expenses we expected were going to be rising and more importantly — and more acutely — the revenues that were falling off and continue to fall off the cliff.”

Murphy said figures will become clearer when the state budget is released Aug. 25.

“You’re going to see a big semblance of that analysis in a very comprehensive budget that I’m going to propose in a few weeks,” he said. “That’s the best window of the so-called analysis.”

Murphy also said he specifically has not been in touch with ratings agency over the state’s desire to borrow billions — but he said he will be.

“Our teams are regularly in touch with them and we respect their opinions and input — so, that’s a regular dialogue,” he said. “I have not sat with them, only because the budget we ultimately put together was only an interim budget.

“I would expect that once we have presented the full — what will now be a nine-month fiscal year — budget, I will sit with them.”

Until then, he’ll keep pushing for federal money.

“What will happen to our finances and services in the absence of federal stimulus?” he asked and then answered. “It’s not a good result.”

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