Murphy backs away from $33M diversion from firefighters fund

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is reversing plans to use $33 million from a state budget fund for needy firefighters for other purposes.

The Democratic governor announced the about-face Tuesday in a letter to legislative leaders, who along with firefighters' unions had objected to the proposed diversion to the general fund.

The state firemen's association fund gains revenue from a 2 percent tax on fire insurance policies written by out-of-state companies. The fund, which currently has a $185 million balance, started in 1885 to help needy firefighters and their families with expenses including burial costs.

Murphy said in a statement that the reversal came after he "listened to the concerns of our brothers and sisters in the firefighter community." He had said the day before that the diversion made sense.