Testa Calls for Scrutiny of Murphy Administration’s Unprecedented Pork Spending in Budget Proposal

Senator Michael Testa continued his push for taxpayer justice and fairness in the budget process with a new call for the Murphy Administration to fully explain almost $100 million of pork spending in the Governor’s latest budget proposal.

“Governor Murphy proposed a budget last month, and right out of the blocks it has unprecedented amounts of pork. By almost anyone’s measure, there is more than $75 million of spending and dozens of line items that favor certain municipalities, counties, and nonprofits over hundreds of others that have similar or more urgent needs,” said Testa (R-1). “The favoritism smacks of spending decisions based on how powerful the recipients are and not on any fair or balanced process which governors of both parties traditionally advocate.”

This is the first time in New Jersey’s history that such a large amount of spending has been proposed by the Governor to specific recipients absent any fair process in the Legislature.

Pork barrel spending includes, but is not limited to:

  • Woodbridge Cypress Center – Park Expansion, $1,000,000
  • Union County Clark Reservoir, $4,000,000
  • Willingboro Community Center, $1,000,000
  • Union Twp. Recreational Park Development, $2,000,000
  • Brick City Peace Collective, $3,000,000
  • Lambert Castle Visiting Center, $3,600,000
  • 46th Street Park – North Bergen, $4,600,000
  • Branch Brook Cherry Blossom Center, $5,000,000
  • Burlington County Library, $1,000,000
  • Seton Hall Student Facility, $2,900,000

“It’s possible that these projects do deserve taxpayer support, but neither Gov. Murphy nor Treasurer Muoio has bothered to explain why these projects were selected,” added Testa. “The Legislature must have a fair opportunity to protect against the public’s money being poorly allocated especially while the Governor proposes to cut $3 million in aid to rural towns and to slash funding for 150 school districts.”

“Reading the list of pork in this budget reminded me of reading George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm,’ a satirical story about pigs that took over a farm with a promise to be fair to all the animals, but then started playing favorites and punishing enemies,” said Testa. “‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ That was the theme of ‘Animal Farm’ and it’s apparently a theme of the Governor’s budget as well.”