"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, April 14, 2006

There Are No Cuts In Governor Corzine's Budget

Governor Jon Corzine and his supporters claim his proposed $30.9 state budget for 2007 is a fair and reasonable plan while acknowledging spending will climb 9.2% over last year’s budget of $28.3 billion. No matter how you try to spin it, Corzine’s budget will increase state spending by $2.6 billion.

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.



5 Comments:

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

As usual, I agree.

One issue, however, is that this piece would seem to suggest that if the budget were heldat last year's totals, that would be acceptable. Lest anyone thinks that, it would not. New Jersey's budget is too high. A $28 billion is not acceptable either. We need to encourage government to scale back massively.

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

I'd be perfectly OK with leaving the budget at last year's level, so long as we did that for 4 years or so. That would let us grow into the budget, and let us lower the overall tax burden. Even limiting the growth to growth in GSP would be a step in the right direction.

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger PN said...

A flat budget is not low enough because the state has to resume pension plan contributions of at least $500-800 million per year. Therefore, the current spending "run rate" has to be reduced by a similar amount to keep the overall total flat.

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

Agreed. A flat budget doesn't mean that each department keeps spending the same amount, it means a flat top line for the state as a whole. That way, the governor and legislature have to make actual decisions about priorities, rather than just pretending to do so.

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger IceNeedle said...

Amazing how most of the media has forgotten to mention how many are employed in the state of New Jersey.

1000 employees would be laid off. Now one thing you don't hear as well for support, no cost of living increase for State Senators or Assembly personell. Even those working for them can deal with a cost of living freeze. Afterall, there is a budget crisis.

 

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