As Governor Chris Christie prepares his budget plan for next year, New Jersey Democratic Party Chairman John Currie is urging the scandal-plagued governor to tell the truth about the State's fiscal situation and the impact his inflated revenue projections and poor financial decisions have had on New Jersey's middle class taxpayers in his Budget Address on Tuesday.
News reports indicate that Governor Christie’s poor economic stewardship has grown the state's budget shortfall to an estimated $565 million while New Jersey's middle class families have been forced to shoulder the burden.
“For four straight years, Chris Christie has stuck it to New Jersey’s middle class families with his failed conservative priorities and shady accounting,” said John Currie, Chairman of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee. “He's broken promises to state workers and school children alike, and he's actually refused money from the federal government. It is cowardly for him to ask women, children, and the hardest working among us to shoulder the burden for his mistakes while he continues to inflate revenue projections and ignore simple fiscal realities. To restore common sense to the state budget, Governor Christie should first cut out all of his nonsense and tell taxpayers the truth.”
What to watch out for in the governor's budget blueprint:
• Increased Property Tax Burdens
As NJ Spotlight reported, during the last fiscal year, Christie decided "to shift property tax rebate payments, which average $518 for senior citizens making up to $150,000 and $409 for other homeowners earning up to $75,000, from May to August… to cover a $473 million revenue shortfall."
• Plans to Pinch Public Worker Pensions
Governor Christie reportedly is looking to further pinch from public workers' state pension funds in order to address the "nearly $1 billion" shortfall expected under the plan he enacted. This would be consistent with the national GOP playbook which calls for dismantling worker protections.
▪ Cuts that Undermine Educational Opportunity
Chris Christie’s ongoing fight with educators and the state’s educational system, have undermined the ability of New Jersey’s school children to learn and achieve their full potential. In 2010, the governor made $1 billion in cuts to education in violation of the law, putting at-risk and poor students at an increased disadvantage.
• Excuses For Not Funding For The Transportation Trust Fund
Borrowing for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) under Christie will be at record high, while pay-as-you-go financing is at all-time low. As NJSpotlight explained the cost of the bond premiums used to plug a funding hole will be paid off by taxpayers in higher-interest payments over the next 31 years.
• Tax Cuts for the Rich
Data demonstrates that despite the blustery GOP rhetoric, trickle down economic policies (also known as tax cuts for the rich) do not work. And, as one Budget Analyst noted, “the state’s finances can ill afford talk of a tax cut.”
• Rosy Growth Scenarios
New Jersey Policy Perspectives reported that the state’s reliance on “overly optimistic revenue projections means the state continues to face a budget shortfall – one that could be as large as $1.16 billion.”
• Health Care Cuts
As the Star-Ledger and Politifact reported, the nearly $7.5 million for family planning services that Christie eliminated from his first budget for fiscal year 2011 would have been matched 9-to-1 by federal funds. In other words, rather than saving $45 million a year, and provide more coverage, Christie chose to deny thousands of women access to mammograms and other basic health care services.