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Governor Christie’s Budget: Local Officials Ready for Challenge, Alexander and Kasko Express Support for More Fiscal Responsibility

March 17, 2010

Haddonfield Commissioner Jeff Kasko

While the reaction to Governor Christie’s budget address by many municipal officials has been fast and furious, some of our own local Republican leaders have stepped up to respond in a responsible, measured and supportive manner. Today’s Courier-Post includes an editorial entitled “Budget is detox for addicted N.J.” and is right on the money. It states that “you don’t blame the doctor for delivering the grim diagnosis, not when you know it’s true. You blame the behavior that got you there.”

That sentiment is being echoed by Haddon Heights Mayor Scott Alexander and Haddonfield Deputy Mayor Jeff Kasko, who serves as the borough’s Commissioner of Revenue & Finance. Both of them were included in the Courier-Post’s round-up article on the reactions of local officials. And both of them provided thoughtful responses, rather than the attacks, reactionary whining, finger pointing, and gloom-and-doom negativity offered by many local Democrat officials.

“We’re prepared for it,” Mayor Alexander stated in the article. “Because we’ve done a lot of leg work already, I’d say we’re in a better position than most municipalities,” and that he expects no municipal tax increases, furloughs or layoffs this year.

Said Commissioner Kasko said in the article:

“It’s refreshing to hear somebody (Christie) lay it out as it is. He told the truth. We’re already working under the assumption that we won’t get what we got last year. If it’s 15 percent (less), I think we can work with that. This caused us to do a more thorough review of every item in the budget this year. It forces us to be really fiscally conservative.”

This is the type of action by municipal officials that Governor Christie probably has in mind. He has repeatedly said that we all have to share in the pain – at every level of government.

Compare this to some of the local Democrat responses: Christie’s plans are “catastrophic,” they will “put government out of business,” they will “push the property tax problem to local municipalities,” and mayors are “hot under the collar” about it.

It would be easy for local officials like Scott Alexander and Jeff Kasko to stomp their feet, wave their hands in the air and throw a tantrum about the unfairness of it all, but, thankfully, they are not pointing fingers and playing the blame game when it comes to their towns’ finances. Alexander and Kasko are doing what they were elected to do – to make decisions and take responsibility for their own local taxes and spending, and playing the hands they’ve been dealt. Now that’s refreshing.

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