- July 1, 2021
- New Jersey Policy Perspective
- Marleina Ubel
From the rubble of a chaotic legislative process rises a record-breaking state budget that funds the immediate needs of New Jersey’s pandemic recovery, invests in key public assets, and pays down billions of dollars of current and future debt. Buoyed by stronger-than-expected income and sales tax collections, the $46.4 billion spending bill is approximately 15 percent bigger than last year’s budget. A large portion of the unexpected surplus is directed toward long-standing obligations like the public employee pension system and debt service on borrowing — as it should. By almost every metric, this budget sets the foundation for a strong recovery and addresses fiscal issues that have plagued the state for decades. At the same time, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget misses a significant opportunity to enact bold, transformative changes that directly address centuries of racial and economic inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic.