Business Report: State debt, unemployment program, tourism marketing campaign | Video

The Treasury Department released its debt report for fiscal year 2020. It’s a tally of everything owed, from pension debt to payments due to investors who hold New Jersey bonds. When you add it all up, New Jersey’s debt totals around $200 billion, which is approximately five times the size of the state’s annual budget. This report doesn’t include the debt incurred in recent months during the pandemic.

New Jersey can no longer participate in one federal program that provides extended unemployment benefits to residents. The High Extended Benefits program, available to states with high unemployment rates, offers an extra seven weeks of benefits. But because New Jersey’s unemployment rate has dropped, it is now out of the program. However, those who are collecting unemployment benefits do not have to worry; the state says those claimants do not need to take any action. They will automatically be moved into another federal program that provides additional benefits through Sept. 4; that’s when all the supplemental benefit programs approved by Congress expire.

With COVID-19 infection numbers falling, state officials are upbeat about New Jersey’s tourism prospects this year. Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget includes an increase in spending for tourism. Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, says a new marketing campaign will launch soon with the hope of attracting more visitors to the Shore. The campaign will include new potential markets for visitors, such as New England.

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Janelle B. Smith

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