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State Budget: Fed on Hook for Sandy Recovery

The governor's proposed budget includes about $40 million in Sandy-related supplemental aid.

New Jersey’s recovery following Hurricane Sandy will come, officials and legislators at Tuesday’s budget introduction at the Statehouse in Trenton said, but just don’t expect the State to pay for it.

Among Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $32.9 billion budget, only about $40 million has been set aside for Sandy-related recovery, all of it coming in the form of supplemental aid. Its intended use will only be as a stopgap during the process of the state’s securing aid for various recovery efforts.

The negligible sum will have little impact on the state’s budget, according to New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. Instead, the state will lean on the federal government to cover the costs of New Jersey’s recovery, which is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars.

In January, the U.S. House of Representatives approved approximately $50.7 billion in Hurricane Sandy recovery aid. That money is expected to reach New Jersey residents in the form of Community Development Block Grants and other funding sources as soon as April.

There are some concerns that sequestration could impact the federal recovery aid intended for New Jersey. Should the White House and Congress fail to reach a deal on spending cuts, various departments in New Jersey could be adversely impacted. Sandy relief would also be cut to some degree, though Sidamon-Eristoff said he was unaware of any specifics.

Currently, there are no plans to amend the state’s budget to account for the possibility of lost Sandy aid.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-13, who represents some of the areas hardest hit by Sandy said the state’s contribution in terms of supplemental aid is irrelevant. The governor, he said, has rightly laid the disaster recovery bill at the feet of the federal government, charging them with the cost of restoring the shore.

No one, he said, should infer anything from the supplemental aid total. It exists only as a last resort stopgap in fed-funded rebuilding effort.

Sidamon-Eristoff said the state’s municipalities and districts should look to the federal government first and foremost when it comes to seeking aid or applying for recovery loans. The State’s Department of Community Affairs could conceivably distribute the supplemental aid to towns in need, though he said it would only be as a second, or tertiary, option.

Overall, Sidamon Eristoff said, Sandy wouldn’t especially impact the State’s budget. New Jersey would see a revenue shortfall of about $407 from its previous estimate, though revenue growth has continued following Sandy.

In terms of revenue growth – estimated to grow by 4.9 percent in fiscal year 2014 – O’Scanlon said it’s on the rise following Sandy, trending in the right direction and signaling positive momentum during what could have been a sluggish economic period. Sidamon-Eristoff said following a couple of down months the state has seen revenue growth after Sandy. He said he believes the overall impact of Sandy would be modest and that the recovery and reconstruction effort could actually lead to a positive bump in revenue overall.

“I’m not sure there will be a significant material impact,” he said of Sandy’s role in the State’s revenue.  Sidamon-Eristoff said he even anticipates a rebound occurring in upcoming fiscal year that will offset any revenue hiccups suffered during Sandy. 

Karen M February 27, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Someone needs to ask the Governor how residents of the shore who are now required to raise their homes are going to pay for that added burden. He talks about the fedral gov. being responsible for Sandy's recovery, but what he doesn't address is how the new FEMA maps are going to destroy the shore if they aren't amended. Where are these people going to get the money to raise their homes? They're already financially strapped and there aren't enough grants out there to cover the costs. Where does this fit into the budget Governor Christie? http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow?ref=stream Next Meeting: March 9, 2013 From 3pm - 4 pm Silverton First Aid Squad 86 Maine St. (like the state) Toms River, NJ 08753
SockPuppet February 27, 2013 at 06:38 AM
It's not the state or federal government's responsibility to enable people to rebuild homes in the middle of the ocean, which is basically where they'll be in the next, oh, year or so, if these residents insist on a rebuild in situ.
Karen M February 27, 2013 at 12:16 PM
First off, when the Governor insists that people rebuild to the new maps and those maps change zones from A to Z which require residents to raise their homes onto pilings, which by the way cost in excess of $100,000, I have a problem with that. My home is 4 miles inland on a lagoon and I am expected to believe that my home, which by the way has never flooded, needs to be placed on pilings for fear that I may sustain 3 foot waves? When our Governor sits there and amends Fema maps, which by the way is a Federal agency, yes, they need to come up with a solution to this problem, because people who are not affected by this storm. like NJ residents who live inland all over NJ will end up paying the price when these homes go into foreclosure. People are walking away from their homes, homes are being sold as is and this is going to destroy the tax base. Who do you think is going to make up for the lack of taxes? This is a trickle down affect and it is going to get bad if something is not done to rectify this situation. Go talk to real estate agents and see whats happening at the shore. Go on Zillow and Trulia and see the homes for sale. http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow Next Meeting: March 9, 2013 From 3pm - 4 pm Silverton First Aid Squad 86 Maine St. (like the state) Toms River, NJ 08753
Nose Wayne February 27, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Karen, they are all paying now and why is it taking till April to get our share of the 50 Billion Hurricane Sandy fund ? Now if our representatives were directly involved, we would have had the money the next day.
Karen M February 27, 2013 at 06:32 PM
I agree, its BS and we will never see that aid. He wants people to rebuild, but he doesn't realize exactly how much it costs to raise a home on pilings. Where does he think the people are going to come up with this kind of money? There isn't going to be enough in the way of Hazard Mitigation Grants for residents because that only goes so far and people like me, who are secondary homeowners will be left out in the cold.
stewart resmer March 04, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Christie backs off bold prediction for N.J. economic growt Christie declared last year that the “New Jersey comeback has begun,” projecting greater economic growth than any other governor in the country. But Christie’s latest budget documents concede the bold prediction will not come true. NJ.com No kiddin? say it aint so?
stewart resmer March 04, 2013 at 08:15 PM
N.J.'s pension shortfall grows the state paid only 1/7th of its contribution
BillBalls March 04, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Karen, Where were you when my town decided to run sewers and water to our house? They said my entire neighborhood's wells and septics needed shut down for sanitary and overall health reasons, and we needed to switch to public water and sewer. Three years ago I paid $6,500 to replace my well’s pump and air tank. Oh well that’s money is gone. But wait, then a year ago it cost me an additional $4,000 to disconnect my well, and cap it so it would be safe and not allow pollution to enter the aquifer. That’s $10.500.00 so far Then the sewer. I won’t bore you with the details, but that was $13,750, buy the time the septic was closed and the sewer lines were added. Almost $25,000 outlaid, and now I have recurring sewer and water bills that I never had before! No one, including you Karen, could give a crap about my financial hardships caused by nature and government rules, so why should I care about yours? Your house has to go up on pilling to make it safe, well then it has to go up on pilling to make it safe. Tough luck for you!
BillBalls March 04, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Make the teachers pay for it. Why not? Christie made them pay for everything else. If they won’t cough it up, maybe he can get the cops and firemen to pay for it. How about the Judges? Maybe the Motor Vehicle workers. There has to be someone who can pay. Isn't that today's motto?
BillBalls March 04, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Do you people actually think you’ll see one red cent of that money? You are foolish if you do. It will on be squandered on political partners and friends and you won’t get a dime!
stewart resmer March 04, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Oh Bill you are so cynical, the next thing you'll be telling everyone is that the NO-BID Christie contratcs with Ashbritt are a self perpetuating republican reciprocal money machine? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfmGobdTa_c
BillBalls March 04, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Steward, Here is the big difference between you and me. You believe if a democrat like Corzine, or Obama were in charge instead of a republican like Christie, all would be up and up. But the fact of the matter is – It does not make a hill of beans difference which party they are from as our entire political system is corrupt and really run by men who stand in the shadows and screw us each and every day! Anyone who thinks Christie isn’t beholding to someone, is as nuts as someone thinking Sheriff Joe Shotgun Biden, isn’t packing when he is out in public telling us we shouldn’t own guns! The only difference I see between Christie and Obama is one of them is a fat white man, while the other is a thin black man. Outside of that they are both Arrogant SOBs, career politicians, who will get up and say whatever they need to say to get elected, then turn around and screw you!
stewart resmer March 04, 2013 at 10:08 PM
cyn·i·cal adjective \ˈsi-ni-kəl\ Definition of CYNICAL 1: captious, peevish 2: having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as a : contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives <those cynical men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient — F. D. Roosevelt> b : based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest <a cynical ploy to win votes> — cyn·i·cal·ly \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb See cynical defined for English-language learners » See cynical defined for kids » Examples of CYNICAL Cynical people say there is no such thing as true love. People are so cynical nowadays. She's become more cynical in her old age. Some people regard the governor's visit to the hospital as a cynical attempt to win votes. … if more and more people out there are willing to kill themselves in order to kill us, we've got to give the poor and cynical of the world something positive to believe in. —Robert Reich, Prospect, February 2003
Drew Wilcow March 05, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Why should he fund it? Our current federal government has a nasty habit of punishing those who have been financially responsible and thrifty by reaching into their pockets to redistribute their wealth to those who have not been financially responsible or thrifty. Case in point. I bet you before I can collect Social Security (4 years out) there will be a change in the law which states those (me included in that bunch) that were smart enough to invest heavily in IRA, 401ks ….etc, will not get Social Security until their personal retirement saving run out! I mean I can already hear the liberal crowd saying it not fair that people get their Social Security when their private retirement fund is already paying them $10,000 a month! Oh yes, I can see Obama at the podium calling us all greedy for that Come-on there Steward, admit it, you think that’s a great idea, and you just like me can already hear some posters here saying ---- Yea that’s a good idea too!
Tugwalla March 09, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Yes and state employees only contribute 3%....they should be contributing at minimum 6-12% of their gross salaries just like people do in the real world with their private sector 401ks ...
Tugwalla March 09, 2013 at 05:03 PM
whats with the hat? where you the cowboy in the Village People?
stewart resmer March 13, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Ratings agency raises concerns about Christie budget, revenue projections “New Jersey’s 2014 Proposed Budget: Structural Balance Remains Elusive,” Standards & Poor’s released a report today, “New Jersey’s 2014 Proposed Budget: Structural Balance Remains Elusive,” raising concerns that the revenue figures in the proposed 2014 are based on 2013 targets, which could still be “challenging to meet” even after the Christie administration revised the figures downward. The report also cites the uncertain financial impact of Sandy, the reliance on “new and untested” revenue sources and possible risks and added costs associated with health care reforms. “These are significant issues for New Jersey given the state’s limited financial flexibility and high fixed costs related to debt and postretirement liabilities,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst John Sugden said in a statement. northjersey.com
Jack Q March 21, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Glad you are so critical of Christies's budget, yet your silence is deafening on the Obama budget. Oh, that's right, he hasn't completed it yet, but had time to do his NCAA basketball bracket. Priorities, right Stew?
Martin April 27, 2013 at 05:13 PM
BEST IDEA YET! "We should be there (Monday at MSNBC-TV's Joe in the Morning show down the Shore) with big signs about FEMA ruining NJ by pricing 1000s out of their homes, profiting from Sandy victims, etc. Let the national TV audience know FEMA's expensive mandates and new insurance rates damaged NJ more than Sandy did!" What town will the TV show be in? Let's march! Let's spread the word! Let's tell Congress to rein in FEMA! ==> StopFemaNow.com

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