• Post category:Legislative

New Jersey State Budget 2021-2022 Update

Following yesterday’s lengthy legislative session, the legislature approved the FY2022 budget, detailed more below, as well as a number of bills which impact NJEA members, and which were supported by the organization. This budget is historic in the amounts of money dedicated to pre-k-12 education, higher education, and the pension system as starters. Remember that Governor Murphy’s initial budget proposal introduced the first full actuarial required pension payment in 25 years and a year ahead of the law requiring him to submit a budget with a 9/10th payment. As you will see below following that announcement and that the state would have greater than expected revenues Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin worked to agree on additional funds to pay down the unfunded liability by an addition $505 million dollars.

As you can see below the budget is required to be completed by June 30th each year, but again this year the Governor, Senate President and Speaker working together have moved forward with a state budget in advance of the June 30th deadline.

NJEA supported A-5870 (Pintor Marin, Burzichelli)/S-2022 (Sarlo, Cunningham), the FY 2022 budget bill, which appropriated $46,380,012,000 in State funds and $21,026,030,082 in federal funds for the State budget for fiscal year 2021-2022.  This budget will help strengthen our state, communities, and schools as we move into the future.

The budget demonstrates the state’s support of our schools, students, their communities, and school employees through its inclusion of the following:
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  *   A full actuarial payment to TPAF a year ahead of schedule. In addition, the legislature and Governor added another $301,509,00.00 to TPAF alone. This payment will help ensure the solvency of the pension fund.  The TPAF payment, along with funding to support post-retirement medical benefits for retirees who qualify, show the state’s commitment to hard-working public-school employees.
  *   Over all the Governor and legislature are adding an additional $505 million dollars to the pension system beyond what actuaries have required making the total being contributed to the pension system this year $6.9 Billion. THAT’S RIGHT!!
  *   Significant funding for pre-k-12 education.  This additional investment in our schools puts us on the path to fully funding the school funding formula. However, we note that districts affected by S-2 should be given consideration for additional aid moving forward.
  *   Increased extraordinary special education aid by $125,000,000, which will help our K-12 schools meet the high costs of special education while delivering needed services to our students.
  *   More funding for our county colleges, $5,000,000.00, which have been chronically underfunded over the years, through operating aid, as well as additional money to the Community College Opportunity Grant program.
  *   Additional funding for meeting student needs, including food programs, school linked services, and the community schools pilot program.  The pandemic only underscored the importance of meeting students’ social, emotional, and physical needs. Some of these increases are:
     *   Breakfast After the Bell – $5,000,000
     *   School Linked Services Program – $5,000,000
     *   Community Schools Pilot Program Fund – $5,000,000
     *   SNAP & School Meals Dual Enrollment Pilot Program – $600,000

Ultimately, a strong investment in public education is an investment in our communities and our future. NJEA thanks the legislature and the governor for making this investment in New Jersey’s public schools and working to keep the promises the state made to its education employees, who ensured students continued learning through the pandemic. The state’s investment today will continue to ensure our education system remains strong and grows stronger into the future.

Additionally, as the Governor and legislature worked out the details of the FY 2022 budget the agreement on A13 (Freiman, Armato, Pintor Marin, Mazzeo, Houghtaling, Coughlin) / S4000 (Sarlo, Sweeney) to establish a “New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund,” in the amount of $3.7 billion helps create a sound fiscal approach to improve the state’s long term financial situation. Reducing the overall debt burden in future years by drawing from this fund will free up more resources in the coming years to meet pressing needs such as school funding, pension, and support for community colleges. Using this specific opportunity of additional resources to improve the state’s fiscal footing is a smart strategy to meet our collective obligations in school funding, pensions, and critical infrastructure needs.

Finally, we expect that the Governor will sign the budget next week, which much be completed by June 30th. It will take effect for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

For anyone interested, here’s how the budget process works:

  *   The governor proposes a budget, usually towards the end of February.
  *   The legislature goes on “budget break” and takes public comments and hears from each executive department about its budget needs.
  *   Budget break ends, regular legislative work resumes.
  *   Budget committees vote on a budget.
  *   The budget then moves to a floor and finally the Governor’s signature.
THE BUDGET AND BILL NEWS:

In voting blitz, lawmakers approve hundreds of measures< https://www.njspotlight.com/2021/06/lawmakers-bills-hundreds-approved-reelection-campaigns/?nbsp%3B&utm_source=NJ%20Spotlight%20%20Master%20List&utm_campaign=7426d726de-AM_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_06_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1d26f473a7-7426d726de-398832064&ct=t%28AM_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_06_25_2021%29&mc_cid=7426d726de&mc_eid=ce64a63ca7>

COLLEEN O’DEA< https://www.njspotlight.com/author/colleen-odea/>, MONSY ALVARADO< https://www.njspotlight.com/author/monsy-alvarado/>, LILO H. STAINTON< https://www.njspotlight.com/author/lilo-h-stainton/> | JUNE 25, 2021 | POLITICS< https://www.njspotlight.com/politics/>
The budget got the headlines, but many more bills were passed by legislators eager to break before their reelection campaigns

SWEENEY STATEMENT ON SENATE PASSAGE OF FY22 BUDGET

     TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement on today’s passage by the Senate of the New Jersey State Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (S2022< https://govnetnj.com/GOV/billinfo?s=2020&b=S2022>):

     “This budget represents an important statement to all New Jersey residents: we are primed and ready to rebound from the pandemic. This spending plan makes important new investments that bring tax relief, increase affordability, reduce debt, and enhance the health and safety of residents. It is our state’s blueprint to emerge from the ravages of COVID-19 stronger than ever.

     “For those who are still struggling to pay basic bills, the budget sets aside three-quarters of a billion dollars for rental and utility assistance. For middle class families, the plan includes tax credits for families, rebates for homeowners, and investments to help both college students and retirees.

     “The plan also safeguards the long-term health of New Jersey itself, with an additional $2.5 billion payment to the underfunded pension plan, more than a billion dollars for a Rainy Day Fund, and a commitment to pay off older, more expensive debt. In addition, it guarantees legislative oversight on how $6.5 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan are spent. In short, this is the epitome of responsible budgeting to benefit future generations.”

SPEAKER COUGHLIN STATEMENT ON LEGISLATURE PASSING FY2022 BUDGET

     (TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) released the following statement on the Legislature’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget (A5870< https://govnetnj.com/GOV/billinfo?s=2020&b=A5870>) in the Assembly and Senate on Thursday:

     “I’m proud of the work done in partnership with the Governor and Senate President to produce a fair and responsible budget that looks toward greater economic vitality and growth that will benefit every New Jerseyan.

     “Thanks to $5 billion in unanticipated revenues, this budget builds beyond the priorities we initially set out to achieve. Our spending supports the best public school education system in the country, puts forth nine meaningful new and expanded tax relief programs for working families, seniors and college students, and fulfills our full pension obligation for the first time in 25 years.

     “With a record $6.9 billion toward pensions, over $100 million in new college savings, boosts to school aid by over $650 million, $10 million for anti-hunger efforts, and $500 rebate for 760,000 hard-working families, these are not just line items. These are life-changing contributions that put money back in people’s pockets, keep property taxes in check, and protect those left vulnerable by the pandemic.

     “Expanding on our commitments to put New Jersey on a stronger fiscal footing, in this budget we’ve also taken big steps toward major debt payoff with $3.7 billion locked-up for defeasance and lower cost long-term borrowing. Infrastructural capital investment projects as supported by this budget will move us forward on clean energy, safer drinking water, and healthcare access for safer, more equal communities.

     “Together our budget forms an incredibly comprehensive and strategic spending plan for New Jersey, and we did it without any new taxes or