From New Jersey Policy Perspective’s president, Gordon MacInnes, a former NJ legislator, on the budget address delivered today by Gov. Chris Christie, who presides over a state with the highest unemployment in the region (among highest in U.S.), and slowest economic recovery. MacInnes has served as a member of both the NJ Assembly and NJ Senate. MacInnes:
“The governor’s budget message sets up a false choice based on a false history. The false choice is to suggest that the only way to invest in New Jersey’s assets that made it an economic powerhouse – its highly educated workforce, its location in the center of the largest market in the world, its diverse and vibrant communities, its attraction to striving immigrants, its high-performing public schools – is to reduce support for vital public services and overburdened local taxpayers.
The false history is that the failure to cut taxes explains our economic malaise. The governor has drained the state of billions in revenue through tax cuts and tax breaks, yet this strategy has failed to spur the kind of recovery our neighboring states and the nation as a whole have seen.
Cutting taxes has been the only arrow in our quiver and it has clearly not worked. Instead, we have recovered less than half the jobs lost to the Great Recession, have the highest percentage of long-term unemployed and rank among the lowest states for economic activity. In order to stem the tide and begin sowing the seeds of prosperity, New Jersey needs to invest in crucial resources like education and infrastructure that are the building blocks of a strong economy.”