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Fixing the “Extraordinary and Unprecedented” Fiscal Nightmare

April 12, 2010

New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Eristoff

 

Last Wednesday New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Eristoff testified before the Assembly Budget Committee.  The committee chaired by Lou Greenwald heard the details of Governor Christie’s proposed $29.3 billion 2010-11 budget.  The committee also got a wakeup call as to the financial mess our Governor inherited.  Eristoff wasted no time in telling the committee that the state’s budget would not raise taxes. 

“… I can tell you that the governor will not sign a budget that increases taxes.  To do so would break faith with the people of New Jersey — already the highest taxed in the nation — and undermine New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and job creation at a particularly vulnerable stage in the economic cycle. Besides, history teaches us that tax increases in New Jersey never close deficits, they simply fuel more spending. The cycle must and will stop now.’’ 

Eristoff also addressed the budget cuts to school aid; 

“…It was impossible this year to achieve balanced reductions in the state budget without reducing education aid, because school aid is 36 percent of the budget.” 

“Governor Christie took a scalpel, not an ax, to school aid. No district with steady enrollment will lose more than 5 percent of its current year’s budget in formula aid. How many New Jersey families, or businesses, have had to make do with 5 percent less than they had last year?’’ 

When questioned about what caused the current budget shortfall, Eristoff told the committee, 

“Let’s be honest and fair. The absolute and unavoidable necessity of making tough choices now arises because past Legislatures and governors of both political parties could not — or would not — exercise the leadership necessary to address fiscal problems that have been festering for years.’’ 

The testimony from Treasurer Eristoff and Office of Legislative Services finance officer, David Rosen, was a sobering message for some members of the committee. Republican Assemblyman Joe Malone told his committee members, 

“This budget process we have begun is painful but necessary. There is no greater task for this committee than to work toward restoring the fiscal integrity of this state. The future of education, the safety of our residents and the needs of our most vulnerable population are held hostage to our lack of financial ability to support them.’’ 

However, Lou Greenwald could not help himself and made sure his committee knew that he favored new local sales and income taxes.  Assemblyman Malone asked Rosen to provide a report on the potential financial effect on the state and municipalities of a bill proposed by Greenwald that would allow cities and towns to levy their own taxes as a way to lower property taxes. Apparently in Greenwald’s world New Jersey does not have a fiscal crisis and tax payers would not mind new local taxes. 

You can read the entire New Jersey News Room Story by clicking here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2010 4:34 pm

    Greenwald has done nothing for NJ but raise taxes. He doesn’t care about the people who elected hin & less about the people who didn’t

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