From NJ Spotlight:
New Jersey’s local governments could borrow money to help offset revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic under a bill that’s progressing despite concerns among some lawmakers about oversight and the potential for abuse.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee passed the local-borrowing measure Tuesday, putting it on course to win final approval from the Democratic-controlled Legislature on Thursday.
The bill’s advancement comes just weeks after lawmakers approved another borrowing measure that gives the state the preliminary authority to issue up to $9.9 billion in new debtto offset its own revenue losses.
But some lawmakers have raised concerns that the current draft of the local-borrowing billwould allow too much debt to be issued without direct state oversight. It’s also unclear right now whether Gov. Phil Murphy will sign it.
Still, local government officials and others who testified Tuesday said taking on more debt could help towns deal with severe revenue losses that some have experienced in recent months due to the pandemic.
“These revenues are not going to be recouped,” said Michael Cerra, executive director of the state League of Municipalities.