Alternative Budget Plan Presented By Republicans Goes Ignored By Trenton Majority

A note from Senator Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

As you may be aware, the New Jersey Legislature passed the State
budget last Monday.

An alternative budget plan presented by Republicans contained over $1
billion in spending cuts, funded transportation and contained none of
the backdoor tax increases in the Governors budget. Unfortunately,
that plan was once again ignored by the majority in Trenton. The
Governor’s budget might look good at first glance- after years of
Republicans calling for lower spending, the budget is about $600
million less than last year. But a closer review of the budget shows
that some of the “spending cuts” are actually tax increases in
disguise, and an opportunity to fund the state’s transportation needs
for the foreseeable future was missed.

Because of those backdoor tax increases and the failure to fund
transportation, we voted against the budget.

One of the “spending cuts” was a decrease in aid to municipalities. In
most cases, if your town gets less money from the state, then they’ll
have to raise your property taxes to make up the difference.

Another of the “spending cuts” was a reduction in the Homestead Rebate
for some and the elimination of it for others. Given that last year we
were told the program was sustainable for the foreseeable future, this
was particularly disappointing, and again, a tax increase for some.

The budget also included the extension of a $62 million energy tax
which was scheduled to expire. At a time when energy costs are
skyrocketing, allowing this tax to expire would have been welcome
relief for many, but it was extended.

When Republicans offered an alternative budget plan in May, a central
part of the plan was to dedicate over $500 million a year to fund the
Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for the major repairs to our
roadways and bridges. This would have eliminated the need for a gas
tax increase, a toll increase or any of the other costly and
controversial plans suggested by the Governor. Unfortunately, this
budget does nothing to address those needs, leaving an opening for the
Governor to bring his toll road scheme back from the dead.

The debate in Trenton has now changed from ‘Can we cut?’ to ‘Where can
we cut?’. That is a victory for all New Jersey taxpayers. There is
still much work to be done, however. The pension reforms we passed on
Monday were a step in the right direction, but not as strong as we
would have preferred. We still need to fund our transportation needs
without a massive toll or tax hike. We still need to monitor the
waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars that sadly continues to this
day.

We will continue to be your voice in Trenton and fight for the reforms
which will stop the exodus of people from New Jersey.

Sincerely,

Senator Jennifer Beck

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

12th Legislative District

Tom Fitzsimmons
Communications Director
Legislative District 12

Senator Jennifer Beck
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon

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Republican Alternative Budget: A common-sense plan

BY TOM KEAN AND ALEX DeCROCE

Gov. Jon Corzine deserves credit for drawing a line in the sand and telling the members of his own party that, for the first time in six years, they must pass a state budget that reduces spending.

But Republicans in the Senate and General Assembly realize that New Jersey is enduring more than just a budget shortfall — it’s suffering from an affordability crisis.

Under the state Constitution, we have until June 30 to come up with a budget that addresses that crisis, not just patches over fiscal problems for one more year.

We need a budget that addresses affordability today. It’s become far more difficult to live in New Jersey because of rising fuel and food prices, a weakening economy that reduces incomes and, most important, some of the highest taxes in the nation.

During the last six years, state government has increased 101 state taxes and fees while freezing state aid to our municipalities and school districts, which resulted in dramatic property-tax increases, some in excess of 42 percent.

The combination of higher taxes, rising cost of living and a stagnant private-sector economy has led people to flee New Jersey for more affordable states. Those who left New Jersey took $7.9 billion in income with them — money that could have been reinvested in schools, bridges and other priorities that would have benefited our children.

The Republicans’ top priority in crafting an alternative to the governor’s budget was to make our state more affordable — to ensure that New Jersey families aren’t broken up by the exit of our children looking for jobs or senior citizens searching for homes they can afford on a fixed income.

This meant providing property- tax relief and boosting our economy so we can attract higher-paying jobs and dynamic new industries. We wanted to head off higher gas taxes or tolls that the Democrats say they may impose later this year. It’s time to restrain the urge to tax and do more to reduce the property-tax burden.

While the Corzine budget proposal reduces spending, it does so largely on the backs of the middle class. The governor’s budget cuts tax rebates, slashes municipal aid needed to keep property taxes in check, lowers funding for hospitals that provide charity care and reduces financial aid for outstanding college students.

We’d rather eliminate wasteful or unnecessary spending.

To fix the affordability crisis, we developed a long-term reform plan to put and keep our state on track. We looked at programs that were slated for huge increases in aid with no apparent justification.

When we dug deeper, we found these murky programs were full of waste, inefficiency and abuse — often documented by members of the governor’s own administration.

The programs were scaled back to find $1.32 billion in savings that could be spent on New Jerseyans’ priorities, not the State House’s.

We restored $525 million in property-tax relief. This includes $375 million that Gov. Corzine cut from the property-tax rebate program and $150 million in municipal aid cuts that would have resulted in dramatic property-tax increases. The cuts would have been borne only by people in small towns, regardless of the residents’ incomes.

We also proposed dedicating $500 million in permanent funding for state transportation projects, eliminating the need for any of the governor’s proposed toll or gas tax hikes.

Approximately $100 million will be set aside as a surplus or to pay down debt. The remaining $195 million will be used to help restore aid to vital programs the governor proposed cutting, including funding for hospitals and nursing homes, elimination of a proposed co-pay for Medicaid recipients, and restoration of higher education assistance programs for the most deserving scholars in the state.

We aimed to suggest cuts that were fair to everyone. The governor dismissed us out of hand. In doing so, he is putting his support behind programs that have been shown to be laden with pork for the politically connected.

We urge him to take another look. We’re ready to work with him and any member of the Legislature who thinks that an affordable New Jersey is more critical than reward ing the politically powerful.

We also urge the governor to champion our long-term reform proposals to make Trenton more accountable. They include caps on the growth of spending, voter approval of all debt and a two-thirds super-majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. We’d grant citizens the power to propose their own reforms through initiative and referendum.

We also propose reforms to bring state pensions and benefits more in line with those of the private sector. We take aim at the pension fraud and abuse reported over and over in the state’s newspapers.

Finally, we’d jump-start the economy and create jobs with an economic development plan that would make it far easier for businesses to get help and grow.

This common-sense strategy would make New Jersey more affordable and state government more accountable. We have listened to New Jerseyans. We think we have come up with a way to help citizens get more of what they want from government.

Learn more about our common-sense plan. And Sign The Petition. >

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean represents the 21st Legislative District. Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce represents the 26th Legislative District.

Gov. Corzine pushes Legislation to borrow yet more… $2.5B for school construction. (I guess losing $6B is not enough)

NJ101.5 Radio – Millenium Radio

Governor Jon Corzine insists that requiring voter approval prior to State borrowing is crucial if New Jersey wants to right its fiscal ship. The concept was even one part of Corzine’s doomed four-part toll hike plan, but the Governor is still adamant about the borrowing aspect. This has some wondering why Corzine wants to borrow $2.5 billion for school construction without first asking the voters.

Yesterday in Newark, Corzine pushed legislation to let the state borrow $2.5 billion to restart school construction (the reason that the $6 billion School Construction Corp was created). The move is being questioned by Democrats and Republicans. The program stems from a state Supreme Court order directing that new schools be built in some of the state’s poorest districts. The Governor has informed the high court he would push lawmakers to approve an additional $2.5 billion by June 30 to restart the program, but legislators have yet to schedule action on any bills.

“The program sets aside funding from the (State) income tax to support the bonds,” says Corzine. “Not to just issue bonds with no means of paying for them.” He warns the voters could turn down the borrowing plan, “and then it will either be a choice of whether you raise taxes or crowd out something else in the budget.”

In a March budget hearing, State Senator Gerry Cardinale asked acting State Treasurer Dave Rousseau, “How do you justify what seems to be a split personality with respect to this issue in that it’s bad, but we’re going to do it once more?”

“We were under a court mandate to go back to the court in January with a plan to come up with $2.5 billion worth of money for school construction,” answered Rousseau. “What the Governor has said is for that $2.5 billion that he has talked about that he will pledge to dedicate a portion of the (State) income tax which is already used for property tax relief, to help pay those bonds.”

Cardinale says, “I think it might be wise in this instance to ignore the court throwing us into a position where we are either going to bankrupt the State or we’re going to bankrupt our residents.”

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has already unanimously approved legislation that would expand State voter approval requirements for issuing public debt. The resolution would place a question on this November’s ballot that would amend the State Constitution to prohibit the State Legislature from enacting any law that authorizes any State agency or independent authority to borrow money that will be paid back with an annual appropriation unless that borrowing is approved by the voters. The full Senate has yet to act on the proposal.

State Senator Leonard Lance is one of the sponsors. He says, “The reason we’re in the fiscal mess we’re in in New Jersey is that for the last ten years we have borrowed unconscionably billions and billions of dollars without voter approval and we have to cut it out……We have dug a tremendous hole in New Jersey by borrowing without voter approval and the way to get out of that hole is to stop digging.”

“Unchecked state borrowing is what has gotten us into our financial crisis in the first place,” says co-sponsor, State Senator Ray Lesniak. “We’ve relied far too much on budget gimmicks and pushed off our financial obligations to future generations. Loopholes that allow State agencies to borrow without voter approval need to be closed if we are going to move forward.”

State Senator Barbara Buono, a Democrat like Corzine is another co-sponsor. She says, “This is an essential step in restoring New Jersey’s long-term financial health……It’s time to cut up the credit cards and borrow only for those projects that have broad public support.” Bouno says she’s “bewildered” by Corzine’s Wednesday event, “It seems violative of the spirit and the intent of the
proposed change.”

Under the resolution, voter approval would not be required if the debt is undertaken by an independent non-State agency and repaid by a third party or if the source of revenue used to repay the debt is required to be appropriated by the State Constitution.

The State Supreme Court has ruled the State must fund the building of schools in the so-called Abbott districts. The Governor says, “I think that we potentially have a constitutional conflict coming that could delay this process an extraordinarily long period of time.”

“The Supreme Court has permitted in the past borrowing without voter approval for school construction, but it certainly has never required that we fund new schools that way,” says Lance. He adds, “We could have a pay-as-you-go system, several hundred million dollars a year for a decade or so. That is preferable to me than borrowing and certainly borrowing without voter approval.”

Corzine Cosa Nostra: Direct appointees – some don’t even live in NJ

18 different commissions, Councils, Board of Trustees,task (FREE CUBA TASK FORCE – HUH?) forces and Board of Directors – a total of 52 individuals were directly appointed by the Gov. last week…

Welcome to The Corzine Cosa Nostra

From our friends at In the Lobby.net

JERSEY MAY LIBERATE CUBA!

It’s the little things in government that start to add up and turn into big dollar items. It’s the commissions, boards and councils that government creates – many times for good purposes – too often for pure political base feeding. Each of theses entities needs to be staffed and stationary printed and all the other things that go with the care and feeding of them.

Just last week, the Office of the Governor sent out a release announcing his direct appointments to some of these entities. Direct appointment means no oversight by the Senate. The list consisted of 18 different commissions, councils, Board of Trustees, task forces and Board of Directors. In total he appointed 52 individuals. As has been this Governor’s practice, not all are from New Jersey. Madelyn Geisser Rumowicz was appointed to the Financial Policy Review Board – whatever that is? Sounds at least impressive. Ms. Rumowicz is from Wakefield, Rhode Island. Has anyone looked at Rhode Island’s financial condition? Proportioned to its’ size and population, its’ in worse shape than we are. Lucky for Ms. Rumowicz, that the Governor’s 800% toll hike didn’t go through, or she would have had to review her own financial situation. Can you believe that she has some special talent, skill or knowledge that no one in New Jersey possesses?

The entity we found most interesting was the Free Cuba Task Force. Now we believe that a free democratic Cuba is a worthy goal. However, what the heck business does a state have talking about, and taking action, with respect to a serious and delicate international problem? We know we have the Battleship New Jersey, itching to get back onto the high seas. But come on, what are this task force’s goals? Even its name sounds war like – “Free Cuba”. Who was the genius who decided to call it a “Task Force”? Sounds like a naval group. Couldn’t they have called it something less militant, like – Cuba Review and Analysis Committee – It would still beg the question of what it is supposed to accomplish, but at least it sounds less threatening.

Seriously, what is this task force about? Could it simply be, that outside of the Miami area, New Jersey has the largest Cuban population in the country, and they are a core component of the Democratic Party? Nah! The task force must have been established for loftier ideals.

We will know that we are in deep doo-doo, when we hear Corzine referred to as El Commandantè.

MALONE CALLS ON CORZINE TO REMOVE MONETIZATION LANGUAGE FROM BUDGET

SAYS ADMINISTRATION SHOULD INTRODUCE SEPARATE APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR ASSET PLAN

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Joseph Malone today called on Governor Jon Corzine to delete language from his proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget that would once again give his administration the green light to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on consulting and engineering fees for a monetization plan.

“This is the second year that there is language in the budget giving Governor Corzine free reign to spend taxpayer dollars on a variety of fees affiliated with his asset monetization proposal,” stated Malone, R-Burlington, Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer. “This language shouldn’t be buried in this budget document. If the governor wants to move forward with this proposal, he should have a separate appropriations bill drafted.”

Malone said that having a separate bill will more clearly define the governor’s authority as well as the spending constraints as it pertains to all aspects of a transportation funding plan. This approach will allow for the plan to be fully vetted and lead to open and constructive discussion.

Noting that the viability of New Jersey’s roads, bridges and rail lines are one of the most important issues the state faces, Malone also said the governor and Legislature should focus their attention more on the solvency of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).

In March 2006 the Legislature reauthorized the Transportation Trust Fund. The annual capital program authorization was increased from $950 million to $1.6 billion per year for fiscal years 2007 through 2011, which means funding for the program will expire soon.

“There’s no question the state’s aging transportation infrastructure is in need of repair,” said Malone. “The language in last year’s budget on monetization set the discussion of the Transportation Trust Fund in the wrong direction. Our roads, bridges, rail lines and tunnels are critical to the safety and economic viability of our residents. We owe it to the public to begin a serious, non-confrontational dialogue on the future of the state’s transportation network.”

RECALL CORZINE NOW.COM DID YOU SIGN YET?

We’re also HERE

Go th the site HERE to Download the Petition (by county), find a Notary

FAQ’s and Instructions:

1. Print out the petitions on letter-size paper (8½ x 11).
2. Make sure that the whole page prints, if you are having trouble, make sure that “Page Scaling” is set to “Fit to Printable Area” and that “Auto-Rotate and Center” is checked
3. You may circulate as many pages as you like.
4. Make sure that the signers fill out everything, and that they check the check-box.
5. You can’t circulate a Signature Page that someone else has already started circulating – just do a new one! (and have them get theirs notarized and sent in)
6. The address people should use is the one that they are registered at, and they should write and sign their name the same way the did when they registered.
7. Only registered voters may sign or circulate the petition.
8 If they are not registered, have them register, voting is important. You can get blank forms here:

Voter Registration Form

or by clicking the Register to Vote link on the website. Once they are registered (it takes about 3 weeks), then they can sign.
9. You must sign the petition as a signer if you are going to circulate it. You can sign your own petition, or someone else’s, it does not matter. If you are just starting, I recommend that you get started by filling in the first spot for yourself, and signing it, that way you don’t forget.
10. Make sure that people sign the petition with their home county printed on the top.
11. You may print out multiple “page 2’s” (Signature Pages), as long as you keep a “page 1” in the front where it can be easily seen, and all the signature pages are stapled to the back. I don’t recommend you attach more then 4 Signature Pages to any “page one”, If you fill that up, start a new “page 1”.
12. Don’t leave filled out petitions lying around, get the forms notarized and mail them in!
13. If you are the circulator, don’t sign the circulator part at the bottom of the signature pages until the Notary tells you to.
14. The circulator portion at the bottom of each Signature Page must be signed by the circulator in front of a Notary and notarized.
15. Don’t worry that there is no line for the notary to sign, they don’t need one, they can just sign on the white space.
16. Fill in all date sections, and make sure they are correct.
17. Many banks will notarize for free if you are a customer.
18. Many Libraries will print the petitions out for you if you don’t have a printer, or if you are having trouble printing.
19. The petition is being circulated in every county in New Jersey, and you may gather signatures in any county, even if you live in a different county.
20. Mail the Notarized Petitions as soon as possible to:

Committee to Recall Jon Corzine
P.O. Box 21
Glen Ridge, NJ 07028

21. if you have any questions, or are unsure about how to do it right, email me at:

carl@RecallCorzineNow.com

Once again – We need a lot of signatures, and we want everyone’s signature to count, so we need to make sure that everything is done correctly, on the right size paper, on the right County page, filled out completely, check-box checked, signed and notarized correctly, and mailed in as quick as possible.

PAID FOR BY: THE COMMITTEE TO

RECALL JON CORZINE

FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR

P.O. BOX 21 – GLEN RIDGE, NJ 07028

New Jersey by the Ugly Numbers Corzine Wants To Ignore

…by our friends at inthelobby.net

Have you ever wondered, just how did New Jersey get here?

How could a state as prosperous as ours get to the point of financial crisis that it is today?

Here are a few reasons:

10,000: The number of state employees who were hired by the state’s governors, both Republican and Democrat, between 2000 and 2006, a 17 percent gain even though the state’s population grew by only 4 percent, according to City Journal..

(Corzine brags that he’s cutting roughly 3,000 jobs wants to skip the fact that there’s still a net of +7,000 jobs over the past 6 years)

13,000: The number of full-time (or full-time equivalents) hired by agencies and authorities subsidized by state government but not directly controlled by the governor, in that same time frame.

Nearly 6 percent: The amount state spending increased a year from 2000 through 2008, nearly double the inflation rate.

33: The number of times ex-Gov. McGreevey raised taxes and fees in his short time in office.

$1.2 billion: The amount Gov. Corzine raised the sales tax in 2006.

Second-worst: New Jersey’s ranking for business-tax environment in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.

Third-worst: Managed state in the nation, according to Governing magazine.

9 percent: The amount then-Gov. DiFrancesco and the Legislature raised pensions for public employees, teachers and state lawmakers in 2001, according to the Asbury Park Press.

$5.2 billion: The amount the pension boost cost taxpayers.

Almost $8 billion: The expected cost of active and retired employee benefits, including pension and health care, in 2013, up from $2 billion this year.

Now how does Gov. Corzine’s budget and fiscal plan address these facts?

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. New Jersey doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.

Jacking the tolls up by 800 percent, or raising the gas tax, will do nothing to change that.