Gov. Phil Murphy pledged to end the practice of diverting funds from state affordable-housing and clean-energy programs, a budget tactic embraced by previous governors that he had continued, albeit not as aggressively as his predecessors.
His proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 ends the diversion of nearly $60 million in realty-transfer fees from affordable housing programs to other items in the state budget. Over the last decade, those housing programs had endured a loss of more than $300 million in funds supposedly dedicated for that cause.
The administration’s spending plan for next year also whittles money siphoned from the state’s clean-energy program to $87 million, a far cry from the $271.8 million diverted in the 2014 state budget under former Gov. Chris Christie. Since the 2010 state budget, more than $1.6 billion in clean-energy funds have been tapped to plug recurring holes in the budget.
“We are thrilled to see less funds being diverted,’’ said state Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso, who is steering efforts to achieve the administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Conservation groups agreed, citing the impact of more than $1.5 billion diverted during the Christie administration.
"These diversions hurt New Jersey’s efforts to switch to cleaner fuels to produce electricity and hamper efforts to be less dependent on fossil fuels,’’ said Ed Potosnak, director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
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