February 21, 2012
Governor Unveils FY 2013 State Budget
Today in Trenton, Governor Christie delivered his FY 2013 State Budget to the Legislature. The Governor's proposed budget looks to restore cuts in education funding and to implement the first phase of his proposed three-year 10 percent across the board income tax cut. Citing tough choices and courageous decisions made over the last two years, the Governor called on all to help put the "New Jersey comeback into high gear."
The Governor highlighted the need for economic growth and job creation, investments in the transportation infrastructure and educational excellence. He, further, pledged to honor the Constitutional requirement that the State pay a second installment on its unfunded pension liability. Governor Christie also pledged to improve services for families with children with developmental disabilities, and to better coordinate senior citizen services.
With regards to the level of property tax relief funding that the Governor will include in his FY 2013 Budget proposal, it appears that all municipal taxpayers should expect level formula funding, in the aggregate. This includes Energy Tax, CMPTRA, Garden State (Open Space) Trust and Watershed Moratorium Offset funding. While $42.8 million will be shifted to either the Energy Tax or CMPTRA distribution, Transitional Aid funding is slated for a $56.4 million reduction.
The Governor noted that, thanks to the bi-partisan reforms, pension bills are lower this year than they would otherwise have been. We were also advised that health benefit costs should be down slightly this year, with savings growing significantly over the next five years.
The Division of Local Government Services expects to certify, by e-mail, each municipality's formula revenues on Thursday. Calendar year municipalities can, then, proceed with the budget process.
While we appreciate the leveling of municipal property tax relief, we are disappointed with the State's continued budgetary reliance on municipal revenues. For over ten years, regardless of political affiliation, no Administration has proposed a budget that honors the promise made to our property taxpayers, that Energy Tax and CMTRA funding would be annually adjusted to account for inflation in municipal costs.
Today's speech marks the beginning, not the end, of deliberations on the State's next spending plan. Public hearings will soon be scheduled by both the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees.
We will keep you posted on our further analysis of specific provisions in the Governor's proposal and on the Legislature's scheduled hearings.
In the meantime, we urge you to consider contacting your State Legislators on our priority funding concerns; namely the State's continuing reliance on Energy Tax and CMPTRA funding. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click for Governor Chris Christie’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Address As Prepared for Delivery
Vey truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.