Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Corzine slashes $500M from state budget

Newark Star-Ledger reports:
Gov. Jon Corzine today renewed his call to aggressively reduce state debt as he unveiled a $33 billion state budget that is $500 million less than the one he signed last June.

"This proposal asks for the second-largest spending cut of any budget in New Jersey history," Corzine said. He called it "a turning point in the fiscal management of our state" that rejects "the patterns of overspending and tortured borrowing that burden our taxpayers."

"New Jersey has a government its people cannot afford," Corzine said. Correcting that, he said, "requires many unpleasant choices" and "will inevitably mean reducing spending in areas that we all support."

His proposal would eliminate three state departments -- Agriculture, Personnel and the Commerce Commission -- and 3,000 of the 68,430 jobs on the state payroll. It also would pare $472 million from the state program of property tax rebates -- eliminating them for households earning more than $150,000 a year -- and cut state aid to towns by $190 million and to hospitals by $143 million.

The governor presented his "sober and responsible budget" to a joint meeting of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers in Trenton. Earlier in the day, a new Fairleigh Dickinson University/Public Mind poll found 64 percent of the public opposes Corzine's plan to steeply increase highway tolls to pay for transportation improvements and reduce the state's debt.

A majority of those polled, 51 percent, favored "very steep budget cuts" instead.
It's seems New Jersey is finally facing resistance on tax increases.