January 13, 2009
Re: New Jersey State of the State
Today in Trenton, Governor Corzine delivered the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature. In his speech, the Governor named the economy “...Priority #1, Priority #2, and Priority #3.” And his remarks highlighted the State’s resilience and actions already taken to address the needs of those most vulnerable to the current crisis. The Governor also mentioned accomplishments made in government finance and ethics and progress in reducing the state’s spending and its workforce.
The text of the speech, as well as audio and video recordings, is available at http://www.nj.gov/sos2009/.
His next major policy pronouncement will be his Budget speech in March. Anticipating that presentation, the Governor suggested we should be prepared for further State spending reductions. Municipal property tax relief funding could again face significant cuts. Those cuts will likely come whether or not the Governor’s pension payment deferral proposal passes.
Accordingly, it appears that the only form of ‘property tax relief’ that we can hope for from Trenton, this year, is the ‘pension payment deferral’ proposal, embodied in S-7. Text of the bill can be accessed at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/S0500/7_I1.HTM.
The Governor also will direct DCA Commissioner Doria to have the Local Unit Alignment, Regionalization and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC) submit formal shared service and consolidation proposals to the legislature by March 31.
The Governor also called on COAH to, “to allow for maximum flexibility and ample time for collaborative review” of the plans submitted by the December 31 deadline. Further, the Governor called for a one-year moratorium on the assessment of the 2.5% non-residential development fee (ie the commercial development fee.) If and how this would affect the housing obligations assigned by COAH as a result of commercial development is not yet known.
Further, the Governor renewed his dedication to the arbitrary and artificial 4% levy cap. The only cap relief the Governor intends to make available is that included in S-7, the pension payment deferral proposal.
Concluding, the Governor observed, “Today ... we must stand together. In ordinary times, ours is a tough job ... but these are no ordinary times. Given the magnitude of the national economic crisis, the challenges we face are unprecedented and daunting.”
We agree on the need for mutual respect and cooperation in the face of the current crisis and stand ready to work with the administration and the legislature, on a bi-partisan basis.
For more information, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.
Corzine warns mayors to anticipate cuts in aid - Star Ledger on NJ.com 01/14/09