New Jersey Policy Perspective   

In Tuesday's high-profile budget address, the governor was supposed to outline his budget priorities for the coming year. Instead, he devoted his entire speech to public-employee pensions and health benefits. 

 

Yes, this is a crucial challenge for New Jersey. But with the state on the brink of financial collapse, it is not the only or most immediate problem - not by a long shot.

 

NJPP will have more detailed analysis on the spending plan in the coming weeks. (In particular, we hope you'll join us for a budget briefing in Trenton on March 26; details to follow.) In the meantime, NJPP has spent this week shining light on some of key problems left in the dark by the governor's address: 

 

- CRUMBLING TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: NJPP President Gordon MacInnes appeared on NJTV, explaining that the budget endangers the state's economy by failing to address the serious problems plaguing our vital transportation network. NJPP also pointed out to NJ.com that while the budget also lays the groundwork for an ill-advised NJ Transit fare hike, "a high-quality transportation system, which is an enormous economic asset for the entire state that everyone benefits from, can't be paid for by riders alone."

 

- UNAFFORDABLE CORPORATE TAX BREAKS: The proposed budget includes no funding for New Jersey's oldest corporate tax subsidy program because the state can't afford to make the payments. This is the clearest proof yet that these special tax breaks - the costs of which will explode in the coming years - are simply unaffordableNJPP's Deputy Director Jon Whiten also appeared on TV this week, talking about New Jersey's failed strategy of using corporate tax breaks to try to grow the economy:

 

- FAILED TRICKLE-DOWN POLICIES: The governor blames the budget stalemate squarely on public employees, but NJPP's analysis points to a different cause: The trickle-down economic policies of this decade, which have left the state in dire financial straits, with an economy stuck in neutral and not enough growth to sustain investments in schools, transportation and other building blocks of a strong economy.

 

The governor may have ignored critical issues in his budget address, but these are problems that demand solutions. Rest assured that NJPP is fighting to point the way to a brighter future for New Jersey. 



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