New Jersey freezes nearly $1B in state spending due to COVID-19

New Jersey is preparing for a huge drop in tax revenue from the hit to the economy from the novel coronavirus, and Gov. Phil Murphy is putting nearly $1 billion in reserve to get ready, the state treasurer announced.

Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio said in a statement issued late Monday night that $900 billion in appropriations are being placed into reserve.

FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

“The State expects precipitous declines in revenues in Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021,” she said.


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It’s unclear exactly what the frozen funds will mean for residents. The list of frozen spending includes money for homestead property tax rebates, as well funds for the Motor Vehicle Commission and aid programs to towns and cities.

The news comes as the state weathers the closure of nonessential businesses amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and with a June 30 budget deadline on the horizon.

State health officials say there are nearly 3,000 positive cases of the virus, including 27 deaths.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

State health officials have recommended calling your health care provider if you have symptoms, including fever and shortness of breath. Officials also point people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which recommends people stay home except to get medical care.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.