Money To Burn
Back in June we wrote New Jersey’s income tax revenue was up 30% or $2.3 billion over 2004. That’s just income tax revenue and doesn’t include the increases in state revenue from sales and other taxes.
As Ken Adams pointed out from an article in USA Today - “Three years of strong revenue growth have left many states with large surpluses.”
The Times article provides several examples:
California: “increased tax collections and the cumulative effect of state spending cuts produced a turnaround in the state's budgetary fortunes, to the tune of nearly $4 billion, according to analysts for the governor's office and the Legislature. Officials now project a surplus of $5.2 billion at the end of the current fiscal year.”
New York: “entered the fiscal year that began in April with a projected deficit of $4.2 billion. Instead, because of a sharp rise in personal income taxes and capital gains receipts, the state now expects to end the year with a surplus of $1 billion, a $5 billion turnaround in one year.”
So what happened in New Jersey? Acting Governor Codey is his budget address in March 2005 said – “Last year's budget increased by 17 percent ... This year's budget will decrease by more than 2 percent.”
Eight months later, as increased tax revenue swelled the state’s coffers, Codey tells us how the Democrats in Trenton have managed the states finances, "We're pretty much broke. We have more debt than we can afford. Next year's budget deficit is at least $5 billion. School construction and transportation funding have virtually dried up. And we have a $1 billion pension payment due next year."
Based upon that fabulous performance New Jersey voters gave the “thumbs up” this month – electing the Democrat Jon Corzine as Governor and returning the Democrats to control of the state’s Assembly.
Now our Governor-elect, Jon Corzine says “New Jersey faces pain.” No kidding. Too bad he didn’t announce what he has in store for taxpayers before the election. The tax receivers are licking their chops and the Enlighten chorus sings: