Following Adam L’s diary, Christie Uses Magic Fairy Dust To Pay For Millionaire Welfare, we now receive further confirmation of the numerous shortcomings in the governor’s proposed budget. The Star Ledger reports, “S&P, the first major credit-rating agency to analyze Christie’s proposed plan found little to praise: The budget relies on more one-shot revenue sources than last year; the $300 million surplus is too small; the hole in the pension fund is still too big; tax cuts are expected to drain $530 million, and revenue-growth estimates of more than 7 percent defy the conventional wisdom among economic analysts.” The complete but short analysis by Standard & Poor’s of Christie’s budget is here. (To read it you can register at S&P’s site by entering four items of data.)
Governor Christie is not the first New Jersey governor to put forth a suspect budget, but his vainglorious self promotion on multiple TV stations this week was distasteful. As Ben Dworkin, Director of the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey at Rider University, said, this analysis “really puts a halt to the victory lap he’s been doing.” Perhaps, it’s time Christie spent more effort addressing New Jersey’s needs rather than his own. Today virtually anyone with a colorful personality can get lots of TV attention – witness Donald Trump, Snooki, Herman Cain and Charles Sheen.
With the National Governors’ Association starting its winter meeting, the Washington Post reports,“The economic landscape in some long-suffering states is improving.” The S&P analysis for New Jersey, however, indicates, “According to IHS Global Insight Inc., the state will register 1.3% growth in 2012 … and employment will not return to pre-recession levels until 2015.” This week Christie presented us with a glittering Christmas tree-like budget including some bright ornaments – one-shot revenue sources and a gift for the most wealthy. However, his projections are not realistic and he is not addressing the needs of the vast majority of New Jerseyans who seek property tax relief. The actual budget itself has not yet even been sent to the legislature (and who knows what programs the Governor cut in the process), but it’s already losing the bright sheen that Christie seeks to impose on it. Rather than promising us ornaments in a world where gas prices alone might soon strike an ugly blow, perhaps he should follow the advice of Nebraska Governor Heinman, Chair of the governor’s association, who says, “The most important priority for us as governors is job creation.” It’s hard work and not as ego-satisfying as TV appearances, but maybe our Governor will want to buckle down and give it a try.