GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OF FINANCIAL RESTRUCTURING AND DEBT REDUCTION STEERING COMMITTEE
Bi-Partisan Leaders from across New Jersey sign on to help promote Governor’s Initiative
TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced new members of the Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction Campaign Steering Committee. The bi-partisan group of leaders includes former Transportation Commissioners, a former State Treasurer and Community College Presidents. These new members will join over 30 existing members of the steering committee, along with former Congressman Bob Franks, and will assist in varying ways to advocate and educate the public about this proposal, as well as continue to provide counsel to the Governor.
“This proposal will not only pay down half of our state’s debt, but will also fund transportation projects and infrastructure improvements for a generation,” Governor Corzine said. “These individuals are well versed in the problems facing New Jersey’s transportation network. I’m proud that they’ve decided to support the solution that I have proposed.”
The following new members were announced today: Roger Bodman, DOT Commissioner under Governor Kean; Ken Ender, President, Cumberland County Community College; Jamie Fox, DOT Commissioner under Governor McGreevey; Louis Gambaccini, DOT Commissioner under Governor Byrne; Hazel Gluck, DOT Commissioner under Governor Tom Kean; Michael Horn, former State Treasurer under Governor Kean; Jack Lettiere, DOT Commissioner under Governors McGreevey and Codey; Steven Rose, President, Passaic Community College; James Weinstein, DOT Commissioner under Governor Whitman; and Raymond Yannuzzi, President, Camden County College.
“I strongly support the governor’s plan because it provides a stable, much needed source of funding for New Jersey’s transportation system while cutting the state’s debt in half,” said James Weinstein. “In short, I believe it will help ensure economic growth for our state well into the future.”
“I am honored to join the steering committee to support the governor’s financial restructuring and debt reduction plan,” said Ken Ender. “I look forward to working with the committee to make the governor’s vision a reality.”
“The future of our region's economic success is dependent on our ability to expand mass transit, increase port commerce and reduce roadway congestion,” said Jamie Fox. “These investments require resources and the Governor's plan is an honest way to make those investments for generations.”
“This is a very bold plan and until somebody comes up with a better answer, we need to support this,” said Hazel Gluck.
“The governor’s proposal is a creative and bold step to deal with two stunning crises: financial debt and deficit, and infrastructure repair and expansion,” said Louis Gambaccini.
“New Jersey's transportation system is the foundation of its economy and quality of life. If the finances of the State are not set right, our State, and most importantly our children, will not have the same opportunities that our infrastructure have provided to us. Will we be the first generation in our history to say such a tragic thing?” said Jack Lettiere. “It’s time to have a vision of what we want New Jersey to be. Bold plans, like this, are needed to solve such tough problems.”
“I fully support what the governor is doing, as the time has come that something must be done,” said Steven Rose. “I am confident that through this process, we will educate the residents of New Jersey that we must act now.”
“We in higher education will need continued and increasing support in the years ahead,” said Raymond Yannuzzi. “The only way this can happen is through the state’s long-term financial health.”
Governor Corzine has previously stated that he is open to considering thoughtful alternative solutions to solving New Jersey’s debt crisis and funding transportation infrastructure for a generation. The Governor will work with the steering committee to carefully consider any alternative solutions provided.
The Governor’s financial restructuring and debt reduction initiative calls for state spending for next fiscal year to be frozen at this year’s level, and also ensures that spending will not be able to exceed revenues moving forward. Governor Corzine’s proposal unlocks the value in New Jersey’s toll roads to pay down 50% of the State’s debt and fund statewide transportation improvements. The financial restructuring and debt reduction initiative also calls for a constitutional amendment requiring voter approval on any future debt issuance not backed by a dedicated revenue source.
Currently, New Jersey has one of the highest debt burdens in the country with $32 billion in bonded debt. As a result, every man, woman and child in New Jersey personally owns $3,700 of bonded State debt, about three times higher than the national average. This State debt means that the first $860 paid in individual State taxes goes to interest and debt payments. New Jersey’s unfounded pension obligations currently stand at $25 billion, with its future health care costs for retirees at $60 billion. This combination of bonded debt and unfounded liabilities translates to a debt of $45,000 per household.
Recently an article about the Governor’s proposal in the Record of Bergen County quoted Mark Tenenhaus, a vice president at the credit house Moody’s, stating, “All in all, if the plan is put in place in its entirety, it would address many of the concerns that revolve around New Jersey's general obligation credit rating and its fiscal operations.”
New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is also currently due to expire in 2011. Without this funding, potholes cannot be filled, roads cannot be built and bridges cannot be maintained safely. We would also not be able to buy new buses, add trains or improve mass transit services, while losing billions in federal transit dollars.
Former Republican Congressman Bob Franks has signed on as Chairman of the Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction Campaign. Other announced supporters include Congressman Rob Andrews, Congressman Rush Holt, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and more than 30 previously announced members of the Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction Campaign Steering Committee. These Individuals are helping to build support for the Governor’s Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction Plan all the while reinforcing the fact that this will finally set New Jersey’s finances on the right track.
Photos from Governor Corzine's public events are available in the Governor's Newsroom section on the State of New Jersey web page, http://www.nj.gov/governor/news/