State Issues Revenue Certification in Preparation for Bond Issuance Under COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act
(TRENTON) - Governor Murphy issued a revenue certification today, as required by the New Jersey Supreme Court before any general obligation bonds can be issued under the COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act. The overall revenue outlook is now $398 million above the amount certified in the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Appropriations Act at the end of September 2020.
As a result of this increase in revenue, the maximum amount the State can borrow for FY21 under the COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act, pursuant to the Supreme Court decision, is now $4.288 billion, down from $4.687 billion at the time of the Governor’s September revenue certification, signed in conjunction with the enactment of the FY 2021 Appropriations Act.
The projected $398 million revenue increase acknowledges positive collection trends actually realized through the end of October. However, these positive trends are assumed to be reversed during the winter months as consumers and taxpayers become more cautious given on-going economic uncertainty related to the pandemic. A second federal stimulus package is also not assumed in this projection.
The bond act, which was signed into law on July 16, authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds in an aggregate amount not to exceed $9.9 billion over the course of fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in order to address the financial crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawsuits were subsequently filed challenging the constitutionality of the bond act. The New Jersey Supreme Court quickly upheld the constitutionality of the bond act while stipulating that the State cannot issue bonds or borrow funds beyond the actual fiscal exigency caused by the pandemic. The ruling also required that the Governor or Treasurer publicly certify the projected revenue and consequent shortfall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic before the issuing of each tranche of emergency general obligation borrowing.
A copy of the updated revenue certification and consequent shortfall for FY 2021 shortfall has been posted on Treasury’s website.
The State’s current plan is to issue up to $4.29 billion in debt on November 18 through the public markets, subject to market conditions at the time.