Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Facing $9 Billion Deficit, NJ Gov. Elect Christie Seeks 15-25% Slash In Budget

I wish Governor-elect Chris Christie lots of luck in trying to convince a hostile legislature in Trenton to go along with the 15-25% cuts he's envisioning in the state budget. It would include eliminating many programs of dubious worth, and it is precisely those kinds of programs that hang on because they bring the pork home to various constituencies.
The letter was dispatched "at the request of the governor-elect's transition team" and said the deadline for responses is Jan. 6, nearly two weeks before Christie is to be sworn in. Christie, a Republican, defeated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in last month's election and has been critical of Corzine's spending practices and budget forecasts.

The latest cuts, aimed at closing a budget gap Christie estimates at $9.5 billion, would come on top of cuts ordered by Corzine to close a $1 billion hole in the current $29 billion budget. The governor has yet to reveal those plans but expects to do so before Christmas. Corzine has also frozen "discretionary" state aid to municipalities and arts groups, forcing them to scramble to pay bills.
Mind you that Corzine claimed that the budget deficit was a fraction of the $9.5 billion, but like so many states, revenues continue falling short, and the only way to bring the state into some semblance of fiscal responsibility is to cut state spending since no one can or should expect the already highest tax burden in the nation to rise still further.

Christie also made a point to note that across the board reductions should not be taken, and instead that entire programs should be zeroed out of the budget. That means that some programs should disappear, but Richard Codey and his fellow Democrats aren't going to sit back and accept such drastic cuts, even if the state's dire fiscal situation demands nothing less.

No comments: