Murphy diverts $136m in clean-energy funds to help balance budget

Governor Phil Murphy

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – In his first budget message, Gov. Phil Murphy retained one tactic frequently employed by his predecessor: diverting more than $136 million in clean-energy funds to help ensure a balanced state spending plan.

The diversion is a practice the Democratic governor railed about during his campaign last year, and one his own transition team on energy and environment recommended he curtail in a report issued earlier this year.

The fund, financed by a surcharge on utility customers’ monthly bills, essentially became the Christie administration’s and Democratic-controlled Legislature’s ATM during the former governor’s two terms, with more than $1.5 billion raided to fill budget shortfalls …

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