Governor Christie’s recent Executive Orders and his planned budget cuts for the current fiscal year are only the beginning of the oncoming tsunami.
He has said, “I’m gonna govern like a one-termer.” His axe has started to fall and will continue to fall in areas such as Abbott expenditures, state pension funding, NJEA, environmental regulations, aid to municipalities, Property Tax Relief Fund, affordable housing, homeowner rebates, income tax, health care expenditures and more. His recent reticence to declare a state Snow Emergency because he knew NJ first had to commit its own funds, was just a small example of what is to come.
He is facing a huge shortfall in next years’ budget which may be well in excess of $8 billion. As conservative Eileen Norcross points out, “With the nation’s highest property taxes (an average of $7,000 per capita), an eight-bracket, progressive income tax, a $45 billion debt load, and the net loss of more than half a million residents since 2000, New Jersey is suffering the painful fallout of its long-running policy of fleecing residents to benefit politically-connected special interests.” And the conservatives have many “solutions.”
There will be plenty to keep concerned progressives furious over our governor’s upcoming moves, not only as he outlines in March his budget for the upcoming year, but as he addresses policies regarding the environment, education, health care, law, and much more. Progressives might do well to “understand the enemy,” and pick and choose their fights lest they become viewed as the “party of NO.” State residents do seem to like some of Christie’s axe-wielding ways, yet these very residents voted for Corzine just four years ago and are not necessarily ready to embrace all plans of our Governor-General.
I for one will not be concerned when he attacks special interests, including excessive salaries for teachers, municipal employees, and agency staff, as well as unwarranted benefits in the State pension plan. I will be concerned when his policies threaten damage to education, health, the environment, civil rights, affordable housing and services for the disenfranchised.
We must not allow the enormity of Christie’s tsunami to overwhelm us such that we just flail away in a vicious, tumultuous sea. But rather use laser-like focus and stand up for critical, core beliefs. As a character in Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures says, “It is the ripple, not the sea.”
P.S. For a conservative perspective on NJ fiscal problems, see Eileen Norcross (A Rutgers graduate and contributor to Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and Forbes):