TRENTON – Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, (R-21), of Westfield, said on Friday that by stalling on a transitional aid bill that would provide a much needed financial lifeline to several struggling New Jersey cities, Democrats have increased the likelihood that credit agency ratings will be downgraded for those cities, making future borrowing more expensive.
“The failure of Democrats to move forward on approving a transitional aid bill that is waiting to be voted on will hurt the residents of New Jersey’s cities both now and in the future,” Kean said in a statement.
“This aid would help our cities to fund critical services including police and fire departments in their current budgets, and would prevent likely credit downgrades that would make future budgets even more expensive for taxpayers.”
Kean’s comments followed a report that Moody’s Investor Services is reviewing Camden, Trenton, East Orange, Passaic, Paterson and Union for a potential credit rating downgrade due to the state’s inability to approve transitional aid for those cities.
Kean noted that a Senate bill, S3024, sponsored by Sen. Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), of Clifton, would provide $139 million in transitional aid, and that Gov. Chris Christie has committed to signing the legislation once it is approved by the Legislature.
O’Toole’s bill includes strong oversight provisions to ensure that the aid is used appropriately.
The state’s Department of Community Affairs has already announced how much transitional aid will be distributed to eligible cities once S3024 is approved, including allocations of $61.4 million for Camden, $22 million for Trenton and $21 million for Paterson.