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Democrats Can Spin Them, But the Numbers Don’t Lie!

June 30, 2010

Chris Christie Credit Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger

Here is an analysis of the budget numbers from Michael Drewniak, Press Secretary to NJ Governor Chris Christie:

Much was said during Monday night’s marathon budget sessions of the Legislature about Governor Christie’s budget cuts.  Democrats accustomed to myth-making surrounding top-line numbers in past budgets suggested that the Christie administration’s budget cuts were – paradoxically – both horrifically large and nothing special.  Those who put forward the “nothing special” argument said that former Governor Corzine made equally painful cuts in his budgets. 

This argument simply doesn’t add up.  Please take the time to consider this side-by-side analysis below (all figures are provided by the Treasury Department):

Last March, Jon Corzine put forth a fiscal 2010 budget of $32.1 billion.  It included more than $2.2 billion in federal stimulus aid.  In an election year, Governor Corzine wanted the public to think that he had cut vast sums from the budget, when he had really plugged the holes with stimulus aid and income tax increases, and had made few, if any, meaningful cuts in spending.  Also critical was Governor Corzine’s decision to spend more than a billion dollars of the federal stimulus aid on education – funding that was meant to span two years but was burned through in one.  The effect was a gaping hole in the budget for school aid in Fiscal 2011.  This is Trenton budgeting and planning at its worst, and the move deeply exacerbated the crisis which Governor Christie is addressing head on.

Governor Corzine said repeatedly his budget was $29.8 billion – but that number excluded the federal stimulus aid. Governor Christie cut state spending to $28.4 billion for fiscal 2011.  When you add in the remaining stimulus left to spend by New Jersey in fiscal 2011 that figure goes to $29.4 billion.  So, here is a responsible, apples-to-apples comparison of governor’s budgets:

  • Governor Corzine budget with stimulus:               $32.1 billion
  • Governor Christie budget with stimulus:               $29.4 billion

The conclusion: With stimulus, Governor Christie is spending $2.8 billion, or 8.7 percent less, than Corzine appropriated in his budget last year.  That’s 13 percent less than Governor Corzine spent in his peak year, 2008, when the state spent an incredible $33.6 billion. (It was the largest budget in state history, and Governor Corzine still couldn’t find money to fully fund pensions.)

And some other comparative figures:

  • Governor Corzine’s  FY 2010 proposed budget without stimulus: $29.8 billion
  • Governor Christie FY 2011 without stimulus: $28.4 billion

Factoring out stimulus, Governor Christie is still spending $1.5 billion less in 2011 than Corzine appropriated in 2010, or 5 percent.  Governor Christie is spending a full 15 percent less of state money than Corzine did in the peak year of 2008. To be clear, that’s $5.24 billion in reduced spending from 2008 – and only $1 billion of that restored with the last year of remaining stimulus money.

We accept to a degree the politics of the budget process and the use, and misuse, of numbers to support a position or philosophy.  But a fair reading of these top-line numbers makes it abundantly clear that Governor Christie has made the difficult choices to bring our state budget into balance and on the road to fiscal responsibility – just what we know New Jerseyans are demanding from this administration.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Joe Mikus permalink
    July 1, 2010 5:17 pm

    Please keep the cuts comming!!!!!!!!!!!!

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