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State Budget: Feds 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, just don’t expect the state to pay for it.

In 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 reach 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 aversely 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 the 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 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.

The $40 million could also be used for infrastructure projects and small business aid.

Overall, Sidamon Eristoff said, Sandy wouldn’t especially impact the State’s budget. New Jersey would see a revenue shortfall 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. 

Dentss Dunnagun March 04, 2013 at 01:18 PM
GB you are totally correct ...my house was built in 1948 ,I have been grandfathered since I lived here ....the next buyer will be grandfathered as well ...as long as he doesn't tear the house down and rebuild ,of course then he could raise the elevation
1stcav March 04, 2013 at 02:06 PM
I'm, as well as others are soooo confused by all these old rules, new rules, no flood Ins. vs Flood ins, and getting screwed....The bank won't release funds YOUR ins. co payed , that was because YOU payed the premiums ( It's YOUR money- not the banks) If the bank payed the premiums , then they can hold the money, but NOT when I payed the bill !!!!!! This IS America , not IRAQ ( which we payed for come to think of it ). Now WE need help , so how much is IRAQ sending back to NJ...Look into that Sen. Menendez , in between your trips la la land of the young Ho's..the D.R. via Fla.
1stcav March 04, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Googled; Flood Insurance Agency and the info I wanted came up for the Condo. unit , as they cover the Build , but from where ( the outer , 2x4's and sheathing ) I need for sheet rock into unit ...
GB Shore March 04, 2013 at 02:39 PM
@1stcav, call the number I gave you and ask for Justin, (406) 755-2838.
Rich Wieland March 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Monmouth County residents: In at least one Shore town, councilmen are confronting the hardships imposed by FEMA, asserting that the bureaucrats mandating those astronomical expenses should pay for them! http://brick.patch.com/articles/brick-officials-feds-should-fund-all-house-raisings Flood-zone homeowners in NY are being offered buyouts -- with 75% of the cost paid by FEMA. The prices are at pre-flood values. (FEMA's erroneous maps, over-reaching house-raising elevations and exorbitant annual insurance costs have devalued our houses 30% to 50%!) All along the Shore, there's a grassroots uprising against the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act that empowered FEMA to cause more damage than Sandy did: StopFemaNow.com ==> or ==> Facebook.com/StopFemaNow Come to a 1-hour meeting this Saturday, March 9th, 3PM at the Silverton First Aid Squad, 86 Maine St. (like the state), Toms River. Residents of all coastal towns are invited. Up to 20% of all US residents are affected by FEMA's expanding flood zones and onerous requirements and expenses. Our voices will be heard from Trenton to Washington!

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