This could be the dawn of a new era of state-local cooperation, here in our Garden State. For all of our sakes, it better be.
In a flurry of action on his first day in office, Governor Chris Christie issued eight
Executive Orders, one of which has special importance for state-local relations.
Executive Order No. 4 aims to prevent state agencies from proposing any new unfunded mandates on local governments, unless they are authorized to do so, in writing, by the Governor or Lieutenant Governor. The Order, further, requires a detailed fiscal analysis, prior to publication, of any local government mandate being considered for proposal. That analysis would include a
quantification of the mandate’s estimated costs, a comparison of costs and benefits, and the
identification of revenue sources to offset the costs. It also requires the state agency to “solicit information regarding the proposed mandate from potentially affected local governments, businesses, residents, and public stakeholders.”
We salute Governor Christie for his immediate action on unfunded mandates. While this action does not provide relief from all those mandates that currently drive up local costs, it demonstrates the Governor’s keen awareness of the problem and his willingness to act swiftly and decisively, when opportunities arise to provide relief.
And on the Legislative front, at its first meeting this year, the Assembly Budget Committee began work to address the state’s current revenue gap and the ongoing structural deficit. The Committee Chairman, Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, also invited a delegation of municipal officials to explain the impact of those problems and the current economic collapse on municipal budgets, property taxes and local services.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Budget Committee Chairman Greenwald designated a small group of mayors for ongoing work with select members of the Committee, on all matters of mutual concern. We have assembled a League Advisory Committee to provide a broader perspective on local budget matters to those Mayors, who will meet directly with the Assembly Budget Committee Members.
New Jersey’s problems are monumental. They can only be solved if all officials, sworn to serve their fellow citizens at every level of government, work together. Through the League, you will be a part of that effort.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 87, Number 3, March 2010