Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cross Your Fingers!

According to an article in the Gloucester County Times, some Democrats are breaking ranks to criticize the budget and decry the sales tax hike. State Sen. Stephen Sweeney and Assemblyman Jon Burzichelli are both looking to scuttle key provisions of this budget:

Two Democrats confirmed lawmakers are looking to pare down Corzine's $1.8 billion payment into the state pension system, trim his expanded list of items covered by the sales tax and hope for better-than-expected income tax collections in order to avoid a hike.

Hope? Hope for better-than-expected tax collections? That's a budget strategy? I hate to tell you, folks, but "hope" just doesn't work as part of a logical, well-thought-out plan for anything. Especially when data just doesn't back it up; The Office of Legislative Services advised the Assembly Budget Committee last week that they expect New Jersey to take in $186 million less than Corzine estimated over the rest of this fiscal year and the next. So much for hoping for more money to show up in the mailbox- it may be even less.

It's time for serious solutions, not crossing our fingers.

Sweeney, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said Corzine has failed to demonstrate the need for increasing taxes without shaving any spending from the budget.

No spending was shaved? How about 1000 state jobs cut for $53 million shaved, $169 million cut from higher ed, $40 million cut from aid to municipalities, the Governor's schools cut for $1.9 million, etc. According to Newsday and others, the cuts in this budget add up to more than $2 billion. So much for no spending shaved.

Failed to demonstrate the need? This governor has held town meetings around the state, made speech after speech about the budget, and actively recruited suggestions and commentary from both lawmakers and citizens. He has gone out of his way to show the public the justifications for this budget. If you disagree with him, fine, say you disagree- but don't accuse him of not demonstrating the need for revenue.

Let's see, the revenue raisers add up to about $1.9 billion. What would the Assemblyman and Senator like to cut to make that up? How about Child Welfare reform and state-sponsored school districts- oh wait, that's mandated. We're already masively underfunding our public pension obligation, even with the increase it recieved over last year. Or would you rather cut medicare? Let's hear some plans for where you plan to get the money or what you want to cut, instead of just gripes.

The Wall Street folks- folks who aren't worried about their reelections, folks who set our bond rating and therefore determine how much interest we pay on our debt- are in favor of this budget. It's a reasonable plan with concrete figures and expectations.

See, gentlemen, figures and reasonable estimates are part of a budget plan. Hoping for more money to fall out of the sky is not a serious budget strategy.

(cross-posted at


IceNeedle said...

Are you serious? 100o jobs cut from a full time workforce of 85,000 or so workers? Let us be real, if you are serious in cuts, lay off 50% from the AGs office.

Next, stem cell research cut that funding off now. Why go on a research binge when the budget is dire.

Next, I don't see the pain coming from the Assembly or State Senators, no cost of living this year. Why do you need to get a cost of living increase? The state is a in dire financial strairs is it not? Also extend the no cost of living adjustment to all employees who are not covered by a union.

Sharon GR said...

I am serious that hoping money falls out of the sky is not a serious budget plan. On everything else, of course I am serious, but I'm not up to having this fight again right now. See here and here.