Governor Jon S. Corzine
February 28, 2008
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GOVERNOR BRIEFS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ON FY09 BUDGET PROPOSAL
TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine today briefed the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce on his FY09 budget proposal, which reduces spending by $2.7 billion. He also explained the budget’s correlation with the continuing need to pay down the state’s crushing $32 billion debt.
“My budget proposal asks for the second-largest cut in year-to-year spending of any budget in state history and is only the fourth budget since 1951 with a year-to-year spending reduction,” Governor Corzine said. “However, spending cuts alone will not solve our fiscal problems, but they will give us breathing room at this turning point while continuing to work towards a solution to reduce our $32 billion debt.”
The Governor has proposed a plan, composed of four elements, to put the state’s fiscal house in order. First, get state spending under control. Second, ensure future spending matches future recurring revenue. Third, end out-of-control borrowing and fourth, reduce our crushing debt load and fund investments in infrastructure. This budget accomplishes the first task in that plan.
“Nearly ten percent or $3 billion of our budget is consumed by debt service payments and those payments will continue to grow and crowd out other priorities in the coming years,” Corzine added. “The problem is clear, until we fix our debt, it will continue to consume our budget and wreak havoc on the bottom line for our tax payers.”
This year’s budget continues the administration’s progress in cutting the size of the state workforce, which has already been reduced by nearly 2,000 employees since the Governor took office in January 2006. The new budget eliminates an additional 3,000 jobs through a combination of an early retirement program, attrition and layoffs. To ensure that savings from these job reductions are permanent, funding for the positions will be eliminated. In addition to reducing and limiting the size of the state workforce, the budget also reduces spending in every department of the Executive Branch and eliminates the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture and Personnel. These movements towards a smaller state government garner approximately $350 million in savings. Additional savings will be achieved through the elimination of all non contracted inflation adjusted spending, rendering savings of $800 million.
The budget also includes a $190 million reduction in the level of aid to municipalities. A portion of which will be targeted towards municipalities with populations of less than 10,000. These smaller population towns account for approximately 60 percent of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. This group of towns will be given priority standing in the awarding of grants from a state fund that encourages consolidation of shared services. Reductions to grant and aid funding have been apportioned across the board, from support of hospitals and higher education institutions to health care programs and funding for the arts. In total, reductions in grant and aid funds garner approximately $1.35 billion in savings.
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/