With only the money in their rainy day funds, states could collectively run government operations for a median of 23.2 days by the end of fiscal year 2018, compared with just 16.6 days before the Great Recession.
Yet, New Jersey is among three states with nothing in its rainy day accounts at the end of the budget year, along with Kansas and Montana, according to data released Monday by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fiscal 50 interactive.
New Jersey’s fund has been empty since fiscal year 2009, after being drawn down during the recession.
Montana created its fund in 2017 and made its first deposit after the close of fiscal 2018. Kansas, who also created its account recently, has yet to deposit any funds.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled on March 5 a 2020 budget proposal that might begin to restore faith in New Jersey finances.
The budget projects a surplus of $1.2 billion for fiscal year 2020, and Murphy feels the state is on track to close fiscal year 2019 with a surplus of more than $1 billion. This would mark the first back-to-back budgeted state surpluses exceeding $1 billion in at least two decades.
The state budget also significantly reduces the state’s reliance on fund diversions and one-shot revenues, Murphy said.
According to Pew, states have increased these funds for eight years straight, reaching a record 50-state total of $59.9 billion.