TRENTON – The 2023 state budget legislation approved today is 283 pages long and dishes out $1.7 billion more than Gov. Phil Murphy’s original spending plan, but lawmakers had it available for review for less than an hour before two committees endorsed it late Monday.

Included in that bill are $593 million in line items that weren’t in any budget plan published before Monday evening, plus other dollars that got added to existing items.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, said the additions – traditionally called Christmas tree items in Statehouse parlance – “are there to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

"You're going to hear the word Christmas tree. You're going to hear the word pork. You're going to hear the words lavish spending. You're going to hear those words," Sarlo said. "Those words mean nothing to the people who are receiving this. The investments we're making in communities, in counties, in various state programs, brick and mortar programs that will be sustainable. So when you hear those terms, take them for what they are.

"Today we make significant investments," he said. "There's some spending in here that none of us particularly will always like, the Governor's Office, the Assembly, the Senate. But it's a negotiated budget. It's a process that gets us to today."

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said nobody voting on the bill read everything that was added.

“There’s over 200 line items, which one man’s investment is another man’s pork,” O’Scanlon said.

O’Scanlon said the process of deciding what to add to the budget wasn’t a competitive one and most lawmakers weren’t consulted.

"This budget ain't going to provide any real relief for anyone," O'Scanlon said. "It does dole out a ton of pork. Billions of it, whacked up in a back room with no competitive or transparent process."

There is a process in place in which budget resolutions that seek changes to the spending plan are submitted by lawmakers a few weeks in advance. Those eventually become public, though not until after the budget is signed in law.

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris, said it’s wrong that people were left in the dark about the contents of the budget before committees approved it.

“Transparency brings accountability. Accountability brings trust in our government,” Dunn said.

Below is the list of the new line items added to the final budget. Some of the items reflect state program choices, while others are more clearly one-time grants. The list doesn't capture every spending increase, as line items that were already in the budget blueprint but got raised aren't included here.


Continuation and Expansion of Data Processing Systems — $4 million

The CuMAC/ECHO food pantry in Paterson (Google Maps)
The CuMAC/ECHO food pantry in Paterson (Google Maps)


CUMAC/ECHO, Inc. - Anti-Hunger Program— $500,000

Children & Families

Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey — Essex County Doula Program — $252,000

Center for Great Expectations — $1.5 million

Women's Rights Information Center — $239,000

Women's Rights Information Center in Englewood (Google Maps)
Women's Rights Information Center in Englewood (Google Maps)

Community Affairs

Sustainable New Jersey Fund — $500,000

NJSHARES - S.M.A.R.T. Program— $5 million

Greater Mount Zion Community Development Corporation— $2 million

National Troopers Coalition Convention— $150,000

Ocean Grove Boardwalk Maintenance— $500,000

Keansburg Public Beach House Renovation— $1 million

South Plainfield Police Athletic League Field Replacement— $525,000

Rising Tide Capital — $250,000

Edison Jets Pop Warner Complex— $1 million

Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County— $250,000

Ocean Grove fishing pier
Ocean Grove fishing pier (Bud McCormick)

Darul Islah Muslim Society of Bergen County - Social Services — $50,000

Paterson Great Falls Redevelopment Project— $8 million

West Orange Police Athletic League Athletic Facility — $500,000

Seven Presidents Historic Chapel — $500,000

Straight & Narrow, Paterson — $5 million

Union County Fatherhood Initiative Coalition — $100,000

Korean American Organization of New Jersey - Cultural Programs — $132,000

Korean Community Center, Tenafly — $76,000

Bright Side Manor, Teaneck — $250,000

Saint Joseph's Senior Center, Woodbridge — $100,000

Seven Presidents Historic Chapel (Google Maps)
Seven Presidents Historic Chapel (Google Maps)

The Kintock Group - Re-entry Services— $3.4 million

New Jersey-based CDF Freedom Schools - Afterschool Literacy Enrichment Programs for

Urban Districts — $1 million

Teaneck Elks Club — $10,000

New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce — $500,000

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, Holmdel — $2.5 million

Parkside Business and Community Partnership - Housing Development — $2 million

Borinqueneers Park Education Alliance— $200,000

Collingswood Foundation for the Arts - Collingswood Grand Ballroom — $2 million

Camden Community Partnership - Camden Works Jobs Shuttle Pilot Program— $2 million

Winfield Fire Department — $70,000

Ward Street Parking Garage, Paterson — $2 million

Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey— $500,000

HomeFront NJ — $500,000

City of Linden - Capital Projects — $1.5 million

Linden City Hall (Google Maps)
Linden City Hall (Google Maps)

Union County Capital Projects — $30 million

Borough of Milltown - Water Main Improvements — $1 million

Middlesex County Flood Mitigation Study — $1 million

Township of Hamilton (Mercer) - Animal Shelter Safety Grant — $100,000

City of Passaic - Parking Authority Capital Improvements — $10 million

Township of Lawrence - Emergency Management Operations Center — $725,000

Township of Ewing - Road Resurfacing — $900,000

Borough of Roseland - Community Center Project — $500,000

Town of Clinton - Police/Office of Emergency Management Facility — $3 million

City of Passaic - Pulaski Park Expansion — $6 million

Township of South Brunswick - Public Library Improvements — $500,000

Borough of New Milford - Flood Emergency Response — $28,000

Township of Chester - Park Improvements — $250,000

Borough of Laurel Springs - Borough Hall Renovation — $500,000

Laurel Springs Borough Hall (Google Maps)
Laurel Springs Borough Hall (Google Maps)

Township of Eatontown - Captain James M. Gurbisz Park — $500,000

Township of Woodbridge - Sewaren Marina Dredging — $1.5 million

Township of Woodbridge - Special Needs Facility — $1.5 million

Township of East Brunswick - Skating Rink and Recreation Facility — $3 million

Camden County Improvement Authority - Flooding Study — $750,000

City of Newark - Harriet Tubman Square — $2 million

City of Bordentown - New Municipal Complex — $100,000

Township of North Brunswick - Herman Road Pavilion — $500,000

Township of Hopewell (Mercer) - 9-1-1 Upgrade — $600,000

City of Newark - Independence Park — $7.5 million

Union County Shared Library Services — $250,000

Camden County Courthouse Regional Corrections Center Initiative — $15 million

Middlesex County - Economic Development Projects — $8.5 million

Middlesex County - Parks and Recreation Youth Sports Infrastructure — $8.5 million

Independence Park in Newark (Google Maps)
Independence Park in Newark (Google Maps)

North Hudson Sewerage Authority — $2.3 million

Camden County - Admiral Wilson Boulevard West Rehabilitation — $10 million

Camden County - Parks and Trails Program — $10 million

City of Camden - Housing Fund Initiative — $5 million

Gloucester County - Emergency Preparedness and Fire Academy — $5 million

Burlington County - Occupational Training Center — $5 million

City of Plainfield - Park Avenue Flooding Resource Program — $2 million

Township of Cranford - Flood Mitigation — $1.8 million

City of Trenton - Animal Shelter — $500,000

Berkeley Heights Township - Emergency Temporary Flare — $350,000

Township of Morris - Recreational Projects — $100,000

Township of Ewing - Capital Projects — $500,000

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Getty Images


Learning Loss Report — $1 million

Bridge Linx Therapy Center, Ocean Township — $250,000

Teach for America New Jersey - New Teacher Recruitment — $300,000

New Jersey Tutoring Corps — $1 million

Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District- KEYS Academy Capital Aid — $500,000

Essex Regional Educational Services Commission — $500,000

Essex Regional Educational Services Commission — $100,000

Hillsborough School District - Ida Infrastructure Repairs — $1 million

Ocean Township School District - Cybersecurity Network Improvements — $287,000

Metuchen School District - Astroturf Athletic Field — $2 million

Montclair School District - Capital Projects — $500,000

Eatontown Public Schools - Capital Improvements — $100,000

Freehold Regional Schools - Capital Improvements — $100,000

Hillside School District - Capital Aid — $750,000

Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools - Administrative Infrastructure — $5 million

Environmental Protection

Absecon Lighthouse Repairs — $500,000

Fenwick Manor, Pinelands Commission — $500,000


Menstrual Health Public Awareness Campaign — $200,000

Medical Security Officer Units Pilot — $3.2 million

Mya Lin Terry Foundation — $50,000

Hyacinth AIDS Foundation - Newark Clinic — $450,000

Reach Out and Read New Jersey — $100,000

Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health - Pilot Nursing Program — $2 million

Family Planning Facilities Upgrades — $10 million

Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers - Pledge to Connect Pilot Program — $7.5 million

Jersey Shore University Medical Center — $250,000

(Hackensack Meridian Health)
(Hackensack Meridian Health)

CentraState Hospital —$250,000

Peace Care Initiative for Eldergrown Gardens —$25,000

Cooper University Health Care - Pediatric Mental Health Services — $3 million

Cooper University Health Care - System of Care Model Program for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities —$2 million

JRMC Family Medical and Dental Center - Parking Expansion —$500,000

JRMC Family Medical and Dental Center - Parking Expansion —$10 million

Visiting Nurses Association of Central Jersey, Inc. - Children Family Health Institute — $1 million

Cooper University Health Care - Salem Medical Center — $5 million

Human Services

Primary Care Payment Model Study (Health Care Quality Institute) — $250,000

9-8-8 Mental Health Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline — $18 million

Bilingual Mental Health Professional Residencies — $1 million

Mental Health Professionals Capacity Expansion Initiatives — $5,620,000

Medical Coverage - Title XIX Parents and Children (Pediatric Specialty Services Reimbursement Increase) — $10 million

Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health - Newark Projects — $25 million

Smart Home Pilot Program — $500,000

NJ Department of Labor logo
NJ Department of Labor logo (Dept. of Labor)

Labor & Workforce Development

African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey - Training and Development Institute — $1 million

Law & Public Safety

State Traffic Stop Database Expansion — $500,000

Office of the Attorney General - Honors Program — $1,700,000

Salaries and Wages (Professional Licensure Processing Improvements) — $5 million

OB/GYN Clinical Training Program — $5 million

Reproductive Health Security Grant Program — $5 million

City of Long Branch - Pop-Up Party Prevention — $500,000

Long Branch chaos on May 21, 2022. (TikTok user ogden1)
Long Branch chaos on May 21, 2022. (TikTok user ogden1)

Military & Veterans' Affairs

Mental Health First Aid for Veterans, Military Members, and their Families — $200,000


New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission — $150,000

New Jersey Educator Scholarship Program — $1 million

Tuition Assistance, Thomas Edison State University Students — $1.5 million

Institute of Management and Labor Relations (Rutgers - New Brunswick) — $150,000

Civic Engagement Initiative at Rutgers - Camden — $2 million

Student Success Initiatives at Rutgers - Camden — $5 million

Center for Politics and Race in America (Rutgers - Newark) — $500,000

Center for Local Supply Chain Resiliency (Rutgers - Newark) — $500,000

Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (Rutgers - Newark) — $750,000

Rutgers-Newark (Google Maps)
Rutgers-Newark (Google Maps)

Circulator Buses (Rutgers - Newark) — $10 million

Public Polytechnic Adjustment Aid (NJIT) — $9,500,000

School of Veterinary Medicine (Rowan) — $12 million

Capital Improvements (New Jersey City University) — $2,250,000

Institutional and Workforce Sustainability Plan (William Paterson University) — $7,500,000

"Jersey" Joe Walcott Statue, Camden County — $90,000

Google Maps
Google Maps

The Paper Mill Playhouse - Capital Improvements — $2 million

Thomas Edison Center - Science and Technology Center — $250,000

Mayo Performing Arts Center — $250,000

New Jersey Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial — $200,000

Trenton Free Public Library - Capital Improvements — $314,000

Plainsboro Free Public Library - Programming Support — $350,000

Paramus Library - Capital Improvements — $500,000


Westside Walkway - Bayonne — $500,000

Brown Avenue/Route 206 Hillsborough - Large Truck Bypass — $500,000

Bergen County - Route 17 Bottleneck Project — $10 million

City of Camden - Pedestrian Safety Improvements — $5 million

City of Elizabeth - Train Station Renovation and Plaza Construction — $3 million

Route 46 overpass at Route 17
Route 46 overpass at Route 17 (Google Street View)


Wave and Tidal Energy Feasability Study and Pilot Program — $500,000

Public Safety Answering Point Upgrades and Consolidation — $10 million

Monmouth University - Capital Projects — $5 million

Saint Elizabeth University - Santa Maria Hall Modernization — $400,000

Seton Hall - Health Policy — $200,000

Seton Hall - Transition Assistance for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities — $100,000

Felician University - Centers for STEM Learning and Student Services — $10 million

Seton Hall - Equity in Health Care — $78,000

Recovery Grants to Indoor Amusement Parks — $5 million

(Courtesy of iPlay America)
(Courtesy of iPlay America)

New Jersey Big Data Alliance — $200,000

Child Care Employer Innovation Pilot Program — $12.5 million

Manufacturing Initiative — $35 million

Film Industry Strategic Support Fund — $15 million

Evergreen Accelerator — $5 million

Brookdale Community College - Wellness Center — $550,000

Camden County College - Camden Scholars Program — $300,000

Somerset County - 9-1-1 Emergency Telecommunication System Upgrades — $1 million

Hunterdon County - 9-1-1 Emergency Telecommunication System Upgrades — $1 million

Municipal Relief Fund — $75 million

Getty Images
Getty Images

Interdepartmental Accounts

Employee Mileage Reimbursement — $1.5 million

Language Access Funding for State Agencies — $500,000

Liberty Science Center - SciTech Scity — $1 million

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority - Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute — $100,000

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority - Meadowlands Conservation Trust — $350,000

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority - Meadowlands Environment Center — $100,000

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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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