The proposal by the Democrat legislative leadership to constitutionally mandate pension payments each year may sound like a nice thing to do and like “we’re just keeping our word.” But it would be a disaster for the taxpayers of New Jersey as well as the very people the amendment is supposedly intended to benefit.
First, if we enact this amendment without simultaneously enacting reforms that will permit us to make the massive payments, we will be digging our huge budget hole even deeper. We will be making the same promise we had to break in 2011. This time without even a thought about reforms that would enable us to keep that promise.Read more
Now that the 2016 budget debate is over, we must get back to the most pressing state issue of our time. The suggestion of some in the public worker sector that those of us who voted against the budget are in favor of our abandoning our commitment to ensuring their pensions is completely false. For any responsible elected official, and decent human being, it is imperative that we meet our commitments in a way that protects our pubic workers – and the NJ economy at the same time.Read more
The May 7 editorial chastised the Christie administration for what it referred to as a "bait and switch" regarding the administration's budgeting some of the open space acquisition funding authorized last year to pay salaries of park workers. On the surface this seems like a reasonable gripe.
But when one digs further it becomes evident that the real offense wasn't committed by the administration. It was committed by the legislative sponsors of the initiative authorizing the referendum in the first place.Read more
Too many people - on the left and the right, politicians and editorial boards - act as if there is a politically expedient magic bullet that will painlessly fix New Jersey's budget problems. There isn't. Gov. Chris Christie is right when he says our budget problems are serious. The solutions are going to be painful.
First, let's understand that the this problem is rooted in 20 years of bad decisions, by governors and legislatures, by Democrats and Republicans. Some were careless, others were craven. But the bottom lines is that we are in deep trouble.
Our structural deficit is around $6.75 billion - inclusive of $1.6 billion in transportation investment per year, but exclusive of things we'd love to do, such as cut property taxes.Read more
Following up on his comments last week that allowing the interest arbitration law to expire on April 1st would have disastrous consequences on towns and property taxpayers, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon will introduce legislation on Thursday that would make the law permanent.
From January 2011, when the law took effect, to September 2013, average raises in contracts, whether through arbitration or negotiations, were 1.86 percent — the lowest in at least 20 years. O’Scanlon was a member of the task force charged with studying the effects of the law since its inception and said there is no doubt the cap has been the single most significant tool responsible for the stabilization of municipal budgets.Read more
It is distressing that even now – with New Jersey on the brink of fiscal disaster – powerful people in Trenton, with the ability to get real things done, are more interested in gamesmanship and political advantage than in simply fixing things.
There is not a caring resident in New Jersey who isn’t aware that one of the biggest threats to our State’s fiscal health is the mess that has become our pension system. For more than a decade our State’s leaders – governors and complicit legislative leaders – have simultaneously increased promised benefits – to buy the votes of workers – and failed to make billions of dollars of payments to cover those promised benefits – using the money instead to buy votes of other constituencies.Read more
It’s a simple question loaded with political appeal: “With so many people hurting and income disparities rising, shouldn’t we ask New Jersey’s millionaires to pay a ‘fair share’ in taxes?”
Okay, what’s a “fair” share? If the current share of state income tax paid by the top 1 percent of New Jersey’s taxpayers — about 37 percent — isn’t high enough, what is? Would 80 percent be fair? Or 90 percent? Taxpayers earning $1 million pay an effective tax rate that is about four times what taxpayers earning $100,000 pay. When and how will we know when we’ve achieved “fairness”?Read more
It’s a simple question loaded with political appeal: “With so many people hurting, and income disparities rising, shouldn’t we ask New Jersey’s millionaires to a ‘fair share’ in taxes?”
OK. What’s a “fair” share? If the current share of state income tax paid by the top 1% of New Jersey’s taxpayers — about 37 percent — isn’t high enough, what is? Would 80 percent be fair? 90 percent? Taxpayers earning $1 million pay an effective tax rate this is about four times what taxpayers earning $100,000 pay. When and how will we know when we’ve achieved “fairness”?Read more
The old saying about overpromising and underdelivering would be an apt description of the Trenton Democrats’ approach to budgeting.
We heard compelling stories from people who are affected by the decisions we make. Most understand we had difficult choices to make, but that didn’t stop Democrats from promising funds to every group that appeared before the state Assembly Budget Committee.Read more