WHILE STATE STUMBLES, ATLANTIC COUNTY STAYS ON SOLID FISCAL GROUND

?While state government is in turmoil and special sessions of the Legislature are being considered to deal with the adverse economic impact of the national financial crisis, Atlantic County government remains an outstanding example of fiscal responsibility and stability,? Republican freeholder candidates Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte said today.

?There have been no disruptions in essential services, no talk of increasing taxes or reducing programs, no panic-driven suggestions to protect against downturns in the economy,? Ballistreri and Aponte said.

?County government continues to enjoy excellent fiscal health and stability because of the foresight and prudence exercised by the county administration,? they said. ?The county property tax rate has been cut for eight consecutive years, spending has been kept tightly in check, and hiring is based on need and qualifications.?

?The leadership and fiscal responsibility displayed by the administration has positioned the county and its taxpayers exceedingly well and able to weather the financial storm engulfing state government, for example,? Ballistreri and Aponte said.

The Republicans attributed the distress at the state level to ?the continued failure of the Administration in Trenton to exercise greater fiscal discipline or to plan adequately for the highs and lows in economic cycles.?

They noted that serious questions have been raised about a decision to invest $175 million in state pension funds in Lehman Brothers, an investment bank in such deep trouble that it went bankrupt and the pension fund lost millions.

?As a result of these failures and missteps, the Governor and the Legislature are scrambling to avoid the state budget falling into a deficit situation which usually means increased taxes and fees or cutbacks in services,? they said.

?If the state would study and hopefully adopt the Atlantic County model of efficiency and economy in its operations, the people of New Jersey would be spared the unease and worry about how the state intends to cope with the current situation,? Ballistreri and Aponte said.

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