Tag Archive: Budget Address

Governor, Pay Your Bills

The Governor once again today tried to blame workers for the failure of the state to live up to the promises made regarding making payments into the funds of the pensions they earned. Instead of going into the weeds on details, the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA) kept it simple:

“Yesterday the court ordered Governor Christie to pay the bills but instead he is asking firefighters, teachers, social workers;l all those that make our state work to balance his checkbook,” Donnelly said. “Governor, pay your bills!”

More of this please.

This video announcing Chris Christie was made at your expense.

New Jersey taxpayers, pony up.

This grandiose video was produced at your expense to build DRAMA for Christie’s (actually short and detail-deficient) Budget Address, which mainly concerned a supposed deal on pension reform Christie bragged had been reached with NJEA, which denied it repeatedly during the speech to whoever asked. Make sure you know A VERY IMPORTANT MAN was at this podium today. Big, BIG doings.

And right after the speech? Christie got in the state chopper to fly away so he didn’t have to cross any crumbling New Jersey bridges.* Not that he mentioned the Transportation Trust Fund – – at all.

* No, not really. thwack-thwock-thwock. But you did pay for the video.

Gov. Chris Christie’s Budget Address

Remarks as prepared for delivery to full NJ Legislature, February 24, 2015:

I come before you today to present my budget for the Fiscal Year 2016. For the sixth time in a row, the budget I present is balanced. For the sixth time, it includes no new taxes on the people of New Jersey.

Spending is again held in line, at $33.8 billion, $2.3 billion less in discretionary spending than in Fiscal Year 2008. I am not talking about spending adjusted for inflation – I am saying that in nominal dollars, New Jersey has not increased spending over where we were in Fiscal Year 2008.

That is because when we arrived here, spending had risen 58% in the previous eight years. Taxes were increased 115 times. Jobs and people were leaving the state. Unemployment was too high. We had to change direction. And we got it done.

The reason was simple: My goal, then and now, was to make New Jersey a home for an opportunity-filled economy. To attract private sector jobs to the state. To protect our hard-working taxpayers. To provide good paying careers for our children.

Peter, Paul, King Kong, Pigs, Death Taxes, Transportation and the General Fund

One of the stumbling blocks to continue vital transportation work appears to be Gov. Christie’s insistence on ending one or maybe even two death taxes in exchange for a deal to increase user fees on gasoline. So its effect would be to add needed money to the Transportation Fund while reducing income to the General Fund. It’s like a family whose budget lacks the money to pay an essential bill (Transportation Trust Fund) but it also insists that another party (death tax payers) pay less than it owes to the family rather than find some others means to meet its over-all obligations.

This procedure is like robbing Peter to pay Paul except in this case Christie wants to reward Peter (wealthier individuals who inherit larger estates by decreasing their tax payments.) Such only increases income inequality which has been Christie’s modus operandi. So much for his multiple references to strengthening the Middle class in his last State of the State Address.

It’s also robbing Peter to pay Paul because while it generates new income for transportation projects (a higher user fee) it reduces revenue for the well-being of King Kong (General Fund) which is already under severe stress and will be under significantly more stress if the court requires a higher contribution to the pension fund.  

What’s Up in 2015

With facts (and help from a psychic advisor) below is what you need to know about our new year:

  • Minimum wage – On January 1 following a one dollar raise in 2014 it increases by an indexed amount of 13 cents to $8.38. Gov. Christie said “No,” but voters said “Yes.” It will help put more money into our economy, but is still low in an expensive state.

  • Petitions for the 2015 Elections – They will be posted on or about the first week of January. All 80 Assembly seats are up in November but only recent vacant seats in the Senate.  

  • State of the State Address – Gov. Christie delivers his speech on January 13 with another moment of truthiness as he trumpets his perceived accomplishments over the past years. Also he likely will drop hints and trial balloons over what he wants to include in the new budget.  

    For more go below the fold, and

    Happy New Year to all our readers.

  • Full Text: Gov. Chris Christie Budget Address

    UPDATE: The end of Christie’s speech deviated from prepared remarks. We’ll get full text as delivered up when/if we can. – Rosi

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    Lt. Governor Guadagno, Speaker Prieto, President Sweeney, members of the Legislature, fellow New Jerseyans:

    I am pleased to present to you my Budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

    This is the fifth time I have come before this Legislature to deliver a budget message.

    It is one of the most important obligations of any governor.

    Today, I present to you a budget that is balanced, and, for the fifth year in a row, requires no new taxes on the people of New Jersey.

    Total spending in this budget for the next fiscal year is $34.5 billion, with a responsible surplus of over $300 million.

    Why Is This Man Smiling?

    The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in its annual State release reported yesterday that in 2012 NJ’s average unemployment rate was 9.5%.  

    NJ was one of only two states where unemployment increased in 2012, and NJ had the 4th highest unemployment rate in the U. S.

    Bill Holland (New Jersey Working Families Alliance) says, Christie seems unwilling to acknowledge that the jobs crisis is real, much less to offer viable solutions. Instead, his only big idea for jobs creation: paying off corporations in the hope that they will someday create jobs.  And after three years in office, how is  that working out Governor?

    In his Budget Address Christie put his spin on the matter, saying, “We must never take for granted what we have already achieved. New jobs.” Oh? So why are we only one of two states where joblessness increased last year?

    This is the man who is currently enjoying high popularity in the polls? Go figure.  

    Mark your calendars

    The legislature put out their schedule for the first three months of 2009 and it tells us about a few dates of significance.

    First, the Governor will deliver his State of the State address on Tuesday, January 13, before a joint session of the Legislature.  We’re in a difficult position right now with many problems on our plate, so this will probably be a very sobering address setting the stage for what we have to come.  Last year’s speech presented us with this agenda for the Governor:

    “One: Freeze spending now,” Corzine said. “Two: Limit future spending to revenue growth. Three: Capture the enterprise value of our tollways to pay down debt and make capital investments. Four: Limit borrowing by requiring voter authorization.”

    We already have the pension deferral plan that’s on hold, property tax reform, a projected budget shortfall, school financing, ethics reform and affordable housing as looming issues on the agenda.

    The second significant event on the calendar is the Governor’s budget address.  This will chart the course for the future of our state and unveil the Governor’s proposals to balance our budget.  It is tentatively scheduled for February 24.  

    We also have the political reality that the Governor and members of the Assembly will have their names on the ballot come November serving as a backdrop.

    Some tough decisions are going to have to be made in these economic times in order to meet the midnight deadline of June 30 for balancing the budget.  That journey begins come the New Year and it may be a bumpy ride.