Gov. Phil Murphy shot down a bill setting aside $250,000 for Rutgers University, arguing his oft-repeated skittishness with allocating state dollars by means other than the typical budget process, which runs from early March to June 30.
Senate Bill 4139 would have allocated $250,000 to Rutgers University-New Brunswick School for Dental Medicine’s Special Treatment Center, which draws 4,000 patients annually.
But Murphy, in his Jan. 13 veto statement, argued that such funding decisions would be appropriate only during the “annual budget process.”
“Funding decisions should not be made in a vacuum or through an ad hoc approach without consideration of the broader process of allocating resources to the competing programs, services, interests, and obligations of the state that our taxpayers ultimately fund,” he said on Monday.
Murphy vetoed two similar measures last week, which he similarly decried as “mid-year” spending bills.
One bill would make sure that more tax dollars from wine sales in the state go toward boosting the wine industry, and another would have allocated $500,000 a year to Greenwood Lake in North Jersey.
Murphy, however, approved a bill that increases the baseline amount of money legally required to go to the New Jersey Council on the Arts. The council appropriates funding to local arts and culture organizations, and Assembly Bill 3101 increases that baseline from $22.7 million to $32 million.
Even still, the governor signed off on a measure on Jan. 2 appropriating nearly $10 million to Planned Parenthood to make up for Title X dollars lost by not taking part in the federal gag rule on abortions.
That was noted by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, an often-times political foe of Murphy.
“The executive order was never necessary, and revenues have continued to exceed expectations,” Sweeney said in a Jan. 2 statement. “The order has already resulted in the extermination of the state’s vote by mail program, delayed higher educational opportunities for New Jersey’s college students, and put services for cancer patients at risk.”
With revenue numbers performing far better than expected, mainly due to a windfall from the increased corporate business tax, according to the state treasury, it is still not certain when between now and June 30 that money might actually be released.