There Are No Cuts In Governor Corzine's Budget
Corzine has explained $1.63 billion of the increase with his proposed $1.1 billion payment to the state worker pension fund and his request for a $530 million increase in property tax rebates. So where is the remaining billion dollars in additional spending going? It’s being spent on the Governor’s priorities.
For example, the Governor has eliminated $1.9 million in funding for a program called Governor’s school. He could have saved the program by paying for it with the $2.525 million set aside in last year’s budget for public financing of the gubernatorial general election which obviously need not be funded this year. Instead, Corzine has chosen to use the combined savings of $4.8 million for other purposes.
Contrary to what some may like us to believe, Governor Corzine's budget plan does not propose a $53 million reduction in spending on state jobs. His budget proposes a $541.795 million increase in spending on state jobs. (Budget in Brief - Page 78) The Governor claims this spending increase is contractual, but that’s not the case. Pay scales and benefits for state workers may be contractual, but the number of people the state employs is not bound by contract or law. Between January 2006 and February 2006, New Jersey added 5,400 state workers to the payroll for a total state workforce of 154,700.
The Governor claims state municipal aid is ‘flat funded’ (Budget in Brief - Page 63). and special municipal aid has been reduced by $40 million. (Budget in Brief - Page 68). However, Corzine’s budget calls for $411.87 million increase in “other grants-in-aid” (Budget in Brief - Page 89).and a $21 million increase in “other state aid “(Budget in Brief - Page 89). This shows a shift in funding priorities and not a cut in spending.
So it goes throughout Corzine's budget – a small cut here and a large increase somewhere else in his budget plan In the end, Governor Corzine has funded his priorities and his priorities are costing the state’s taxpayers an additional $2.6 billion.