Author Archive: njppwhiten

How Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan Would Hurt New Jersey

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This op-ed by NJPP president Gordon MacInnes appeared in the August 9, 2012 edition of the Record. We thought Blue Jerseyans might enjoy.

New Jersey is hurting. It’s hurting so bad that the only way the governor could pay for his proposed tax cut is to borrow the money from our kids and grandkids. Float a bond for $260 million to pay for the $200 million or so tax cut proposed for this budget year. Benefits to future taxpayers? Zero. No matter, we can all enjoy a night out with the reduced taxes and let our kids pay. Given the amount we’ll get back, most of us can reserve a spot at the nearest White Castle.

This is not the condition one would expect of the “Comeback” state. But it gets even worse.

The United States has suffered a cut in its prime credit rating because Congress wouldn’t provide timely funds to repay the nation’s debt.

To add to our growing burdens, the House of Representatives has passed a plan that is supposed to balance the federal budget without increasing revenues. It’s called the Ryan Plan for its Wisconsin sponsor, Paul Ryan.

Despite the Tax Cut Theatrics, Nothing Has Changed: Waiting is the Responsible Decision

This good diary, from New Jersey Policy Perspective’s David Rousseau came just before we took Independence Day off. Still a good read – promoted by Rosi.

Some thoughts on yesterday’s special session from NJPP’s David Rousseau. Cross-posted at

The decision to delay consideration of any tax cut due to wobbly revenues is still the correct and responsible one. Nothing that Gov. Christie said yesterday changes that fact, or any of the facts that back it up.

Let’s break those facts down, shall we?

April Jobs Numbers: Despite Slight Job Gains, NJ Has 5th Highest Jobless Rate of 50 States

Cross-posted at

New Jersey added 2,600 jobs in April, not enough to wipe out the declines in March, and the state’s unemployment rate ticked up by a percentage point, to 9.1 percent – the highest it’s been since December, state labor officials announced last week.

The increase in the jobless rate pushes New Jersey into dubious company, as it joins Nevada, Rhode Island, California and North Carolina as the states with the five highest unemployment rates in the U.S. (the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also had higher rates). The Garden State was also one of only five states to see its rate bump up in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Insurance Industry, 1. Consumers, 0: Dissecting Gov. Christie’s Veto Message on the Health Insuranc

NJPP senior policy analyst Raymond Castro’s reaction to the governor’s veto message. Cross-posted from

Gov. Christie’s veto of the New Jersey Health Benefit Exchange Act is a major setback for the 1.3 million New Jerseyans who are uninsured and the thousands more who can’t afford what little health coverage they have.

While two states already have an exchange and 12 states have moved ahead with efforts to establish an exchange, the fate of quality affordable health coverage in New Jersey lies in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court overturns the Affordable Care Act, the governor has no plan on how to solve the un-insurance crisis. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, more state leadership is urgently needed, as this crisis is threatening our state’s health and economy.    

Even if the Supreme Court upholds health care reform, Gov. Christie wants to change New Jersey’s exchange in ways that will hurt consumers while benefiting the insurance industry.

A Birthday Worth Celebrating: New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Law Turns Four

Yesterday’s anniversary of Family Leave. – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from

As New Jersey lawmakers, families and advocates gathered at the Statehouse today to celebrate the fourth birthday of the state’s Family Leave Insurance (FLI) program, we think it’s a good opportunity to take a look back at this historic initiative. The legislation, which was passed into law in May 2008, has made it possible for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans to take time off from work to be with newborn or newly adopted children and family members in need of medical care — without worrying about how to pay their monthly bills.

“Listen to What I Say, Not What I Do:” When Numbers Clash with Rhetoric in Budget-Making

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Former state treasurer David Rousseau is blogging his analysis of this year’s budget process over at Here’s his take on how the rhetoric and the reality don’t quite match on higher education funding:

“I am proud to say this budget proposes a nearly 6% increase in direct aid to our senior public colleges and universities. We are able to help make college more available and affordable for New Jersey families. But we need to do more.” – Governor Christie, FY 2013 Budget Speech (February 21, 2012)

“$80.1 Million of the Additional Funding Goes Directly to the Twelve State Colleges and Research Institutions. Total State support for State colleges and research institutions increases by 6% to over $1.4 billion, supporting day-to-day operations and to pay for the cost of employee fringe benefits.” – FY 2013 Budget Summary (page 54)

“Direct operating aid for senior public institutions of higher education in FY 2013 is recommended at $716.5 million, which is the same amount that was appropriated in FY 2012.” – FY 2013 OLS Higher Educational Services Budget Analysis (page 2)

“Thus, the FY 20123 budget recommendation of $1.418 billion for total State support for the senior public institutions is an increase of 0.72% of $10.1 million over the anticipated FY 2012 expenditure of $1.408 billion.” – FY 2013 OLS Higher Educational Services Budget Analysis (page 16)

Politicians as a species do not like being caught lying. They rely instead on telling the (very) incomplete truth. This is called “spin.” Spin is universally practiced by politicians (as well as lobbyists, bureaucrats and business executives), even in budget messages.

More details after the jump.

Reversing Progress: New Jersey Taxing Working-Poor Further Into Poverty

njppwhiten is communications director for our friends at New Jersey Policy Perspective. – promoted by Rosi

New Jersey is in unenviable company. It is one of just three states that has raised income taxes on working-poor families in recent years, making it harder for these families to work their way toward the middle class, according to the annual report on state income tax trends released this week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Taxing the incomes of working-poor families makes no sense, and is contrary to decades of bipartisan efforts at both the federal and state levels to help such families work their way into the middle class, the Center’s report shows.

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Why Cutting the Income Tax is a Bad Idea for New Jersey

Thoughts on Christie’s income tax cut proposal from NJPP research director Mary Forsberg:

The cornerstone policy proposal of Gov. Christie’s State of the State speech Tuesday was a 10 percent across-the-board reduction in income tax rates. But “fixing” the only tax in New Jersey that isn’t broken would be a bad idea, resulting in less money for schools and local government services and likely forcing many New Jerseyans to pay more in property taxes.

Eight States Rang in the New Year by Raising Minimum Wage … Now it’s New Jersey’s Turn

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cross-posted at

On January 1, the minimum wage increased in eight states, modestly boosting the incomes of more than 1.4 million low-wage workers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. These states are part of a growing group that realizes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is not enough to provide a decent living for working families – a group that still does not include New Jersey.

Asking Everyone to Pay Their Fair Share is *Not* a Partisan Issue

Well, this seems like a post that might provoke some interesting comments … promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted at

Efforts to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes to keep our communities strong are often spun as “Democratic” or “liberal” ideas. But the truth is, fair taxation is not a partisan issue. Here in New Jersey, strong majorities that include an increasing number of independents and Republicans want big corporations and the wealthiest individuals to pay their fair share.

The latest to speak out? Former state Sen. Bill Schluter.