NJ Fiscal Folly

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Trenton Trickster

Gov Corzine's budget proposal for FY 2007 also forecasts a $1.5 billion deficit for FY 2008 (see page 77). Let's assume for a minute that his revenue and expense projections for these two years are not unduly optimistic (stop laughing).

Can anyone show me any substantive structural reforms in this year's budget that will make a dent in the constant growth of state spending? Public employee pension reform? Public employee medical benefits? Abbott district spending? Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare? Greater transparency for politicians' pet projects? Greater accountability for financial integrity?

If not, can anyone doubt that this year's proposed state tax increases must be followed by another round of state tax increases next year? $1.8 billion of "revenue solutions" in FY 2007 will be followed by another $1.5 billion in FY 2008. Moreover, the continuing diversion of income taxes must surely lead to further local tax increases.

Corzine's budget is like a magic show, a flurry of artful gestures to hide the fakery of the performance.

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