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Benson, Coughlin Bill Enabling Municipalities to Plan for Covid-19 Pandemic Recovery Efforts Clears Committee

Legislation establishing a new financing mechanism to enable local units to borrow money through the issuance of “coronavirus relief bonds,” was among numerous measures approved Thursday by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the state.

The bill (A-3971) is sponsored by Assembly members Daniel Benson (D- Mercer, Middlesex) and Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex).

“Many municipalities have already suffered substantial loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Benson. “New Jersey towns will need access to all available resources in order to recover from these challenging times. We must do everything we can to prevent local budgets from being balanced with higher taxes and further burdening New Jersey taxpayers.”

“Municipalities and counties are experiencing revenue shortfalls and expense overruns due to battling Covid-19,” said Coughlin. “All available options, including the ability to borrow funds, must be on the table if we expect our local economies to recoup losses and strengthen post pandemic.”

Under the bill, a local unit that requires money because of lost revenues or unanticipated expenses that are directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic may incur indebtedness, borrow money, and authorize the issuance of coronavirus relief bonds.