New Jersey’s governor allowed the spending of more than half a million dollars of federal COVID-19 relief funds to acquire eight new SUVs for transportation of state officials, according to Politico.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, specifically the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), allocated $521,783 for the SUVs. This expense was included as one of 46 line items in a state Treasury Department memo sent to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC), requesting to use $200 million in federal rescue funds. (RELATED: Gym Owner Who Defied New Jersey’s COVID-19 Lockdowns Says He’s Running For Congress)
The administration made unilateral spending decisions regarding the American Rescue Plan funds of appropriations between $10 to $200 million, requiring of JBOC approval for bigger requests, Politico reported. Moreover, the JBOC required details of the spending.
The administration justified the eight Chevrolet Suburbans in the Department of the Treasury memo, saying they allowed NJSP officials to aid vaccination sites, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other areas affected by COVID-19.
Republican New Jersey Assemblyman Hal Wirths, a member of JBOC, said he considered this spending “a stretch.”
“I don’t think it’s a priority, especially this late after Covid,” Wirths said in Politico. “If they did it two or three years ago, you might have a little more of an argument.”
Under federal regulation, the use of funds has to improve the execution of response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve the efficacy of public health programs, Politico said.
Wirths complained that the largely Democratic New Jersey government is taking too long to appropriate the federal coronavirus relief funds, according to Politico.
The New Jersey Office of Public Information and Murphy did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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