May 29, 2008
Senate and Assembly Republicans unveiled a plan that identifies $1.32 billion in unnecessary spending in Governor Corzine?s Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal and uses it to restore property tax relief and aid to state municipalities, while eliminating the need for gas tax increases to finance transportation needs.
You can see Senator Kean?s and Assemblyman DeCroce?s YouTube video about the plan here.
In addition, Republicans also announced a series of long-term structural reforms to the state budget, reforms to the state pension and benefits system, and an aggressive economic development agenda to create jobs and revitalize New Jersey.
?This plan for a better New Jersey is a common-sense financial strategy to make our state more affordable, and your government more accountable to its citizens,? said Kean, R-Union, Morris, Somerset and Essex. ?We?ve listened to New Jerseyans over the last few months as they told us what should be done, and we think we?ve come up with an ambitious, but practical approach that lets everyone get more of what they want from state government.?
?Our primary concern in crafting a state budget should not be the priorities of Trenton politicians, but those of the taxpayers who are demanding a more affordable New Jersey and a government that is more accountable,? said DeCroce, R-Morris and Passaic. ?This proposal is a reprioritization of state spending that provides more tax relief, a strategy to increase the share of pay-as-you-go funding for our state?s transportation program, and more money to reduce the debt burden now facing our children and grandchildren.?
The Republican plan calls for re-allocating $1.32 billion from the Governor?s Fiscal Year 2009 spending proposal. Republicans would restore $525 million in property tax relief that Governor Corzine has put on the chopping block. This includes keeping the state?s commitment to property taxpayers by restoring the $375 million of Corzine?s proposed cuts to property tax rebates ? rebates that last year Democrats in the Legislature promised taxpayers would be permanent ? and also restoring $150 million in municipal aid cuts that will be used by municipalities to offset projected property tax increases. This also includes funding for rural state police patrols.
Republicans will constitutionally redirect $500 million of annual and recurring revenue as a permanent source of funding to bolster the State?s transportation program. Democrats are fighting amongst themselves about whether to raise the gas tax or tolls some other tax to pay for transportation when it is obvious to taxpayers that a $33 billion budget has ample resources within to finance state transportation needs without asking them to pay more.
About $100 million would be set aside because it?s prudent to build a surplus in a time of uncertainty. The remaining $195 million freed up by trimming overspending on various programs will allow the Legislature, working on a bipartisan basis, to explore other priorities.
These include the possibility of restoring funding for hospitals and nursing homes, financing more of higher education costs and maintaining the NJStars tuition assistance program. It could also include the elimination of the newly proposed Medicaid co-pay, and putting an end to the redirection of dedicated funds for State Police classes and the arts.
To address the state?s long-term fiscal crisis, Republicans proposed a series of structural reforms designed to gradually put the state?s budget back on sound fiscal footing. These reforms include: