As I write this piece, the Congressional Budget Office projects a “jaw dropping” $1.2 trillion federal budget deficit this fiscal year. U.S. unemployment numbers roughly equal the population of the State of New Jersey. Roughly one out of every 600 homes in New Jersey faces foreclosure. Governor Corzine, in an effort to address state revenue declines, has cut an additional $15 million from already diminished municipal property tax relief funding programs. And Congress has set a goal for passage of the next economic stimulus bill by mid-February.
And, in these tough times, New Jersey municipalities are making their needs known through the League of Municipalities.
In response to a December 2008 request from the League, local governments all around New Jersey completed a survey specifying local infrastructure programs that could begin, with the requisite funding, by the end of June. By January 6, when the new Congress convened, over 132 municipalities had listed locally needed projects, the cost of which would total over $761 million. Since then, others have weighed in. (See NJSLOM.org for the latest survey results.)
On January 7, the League started forwarding the lists to Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and to the rest of our entire Congressional Delegation, asking them to do all that they can to secure direct funding for these investments.
Bringing a stable economy back to our nation, back to our hometowns and back to our families is the first of many important steps that all levels of government must take to build a better future for the nation’s hometowns and families. We urge Congress and the President to act now to create good jobs and to help our families. Local officials stand ready to go work.
This global economic crisis, too, shall pass. And I am certain it will pass faster in our state if all who represent New Jersey citizens—in Washington, in Trenton and in our hometowns—work together.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 86, Number 2, February 2009