New Jersey governor warns key employees could be laid off without more federal funding

TRENTON, New Jersey -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Sunday warned that key employees -- including health care workers, firefighters, police officers and teachers -- could be laid off if the state does not receive additional funding from the federal government.

The dire prediction from Murphy reflects what many governors across the country fear as states grapple with budget shortfalls from the economic calamity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Democrat and other governors have called for additional federal assistance while the White House is reluctant to provide additional funds to states. On Friday, Murphy announced the state is estimated to have a revenue loss of $10 billion.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Sunday said in an earlier interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" there should be a data analysis on state budget shortfalls and that some state's requests are "radically more money than the expected shortfall for the year."

"I thought Kevin (Hassett) was reasonable, but on this one I have to say I'm going to say time out," Murphy told Bash, adding, "We don't need a data crunch."

"We announced a budget on Friday for the next four months and we had to cut or defer over $5 billion of expenditures. And this includes potentially laying off educators, firefighters, police, EMS, health care workers. This is not abstract. This is real. It's not a blue state issue. It's an American issue," Murphy said.

He continued that the last thing New Jersey needs to do is "lay any of those folks off and increase the unemployment rate and underserve our residents."

"So we need it, and it's not just New Jersey, it's not just blue states, it's American states up and down the country," he said.

As of Sunday morning, New Jersey had more than 154,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the second-highest rate in the country, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. At least 11,133 people have died from the virus in the state.

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