GOVERNOR PLEDGES QUICK, APPROPRIATE ACTION TO
FURTHER COMBAT FINANCIAL CRISIS
Governor Corzine announces working groups to maximize stimulus resources, oversee job creation
TRENTON – In light of new reports of increasing unemployment and declining state revenues, Governor Jon S. Corzine today initiated additional measures to deal with the fallout from the national recession, get residents back to work, and position the state for recovery from the deepening national economic crisis.
To accelerate existing recovery efforts, Governor Corzine announced the formation of a federal stimulus working group to spearhead New Jersey’s efforts in maximizing federal economic stimulus aid, and a second group to monitor job creation resulting from his Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan.
The announcement of the two working groups comes in the wake of new state unemployment numbers that show New Jersey’s jobless rate is now 7.1 percent – just below the federal rate of 7.2 percent. In addition, a revenue report last week indicated that tax collections were off $354 million for the month of December.
This somber economic news, Governor Corzine said, requires a concentrated effort to further position New Jersey for a speedy economic recovery and necessitates the need for a working group to focus on a potential federal stimulus package.
“The national recession is deepening, and the challenges we face are real,” Governor Corzine said. “This is a problem that is much broader than New Jersey, but we need to do our part and contribute to an overall national recovery.”
The federal stimulus working group will include key cabinet members and Governor’s Office staffers with Washington experience. They will be charged with reviewing various federal stimulus proposals and will work with the state’s congressional delegation to ensure that New Jersey is “at the front of the line” to get the maximum amount of assistance for job creation and economic recovery.
“We have a real opportunity to simultaneously address the state’s most pressing needs while providing a boost to the state economy,” Governor Corzine said. “With the federal government poised to lend assistance in this time of a national economic crisis, we must be prepared to act quickly and maximize the economic impact of every federal dollar that comes our way.”
Specifically, Governor Corzine said an infusion is needed for the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to provide the benefits necessary for New Jersey’s jobless residents and to prevent the trigger of a tax increase on the state’s employers. The state plans to direct approximately $250 million to the Trust Fund through budget cuts in other areas, but will need additional funding through federal sources to prevent the statutory trigger of a $700 million tax increase on New Jersey businesses to replenish the fund.
The second task force involves the full implementation of Governor Corzine’s Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, which was a series of nine bills announced in October and recently signed into law. In October, Governor Corzine specified four areas of action: immediate assistance, including foreclosure prevention, energy costs, and food costs; short-term job creation, focusing on expediting public works projects and providing strong incentives for new job creation; long-term business climate changes, specifically on changes in tax policy and the cultivation of alternative energy projects, and; continued fiscal responsibility on the state level by keeping state spending in check.
Initiatives of Governor Corzine’s Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan implemented through existing programs or signed into law include increasing energy assistance aid; providing $22.5 million for food, energy and legal aid assistance; expansion of the Senior Freeze program; expediting $2.8 billion in transportation projects; allocating $12.5 million in state funds for foreclosure prevention assistance; created Invest NJ Program; broadened the small qualified business exception under the UEZ program; reforming some of the state’s corporate tax laws, and; created the New Jersey Main Street Business Assistance Program.
Those measures specifically focusing on job creation will be monitored for effectiveness, and directives to create jobs through the acceleration of infrastructure projects – primarily through the Schools Development Authority and the state Department of Transportation – will be monitored weekly to determine how many jobs are created.
“We have a lot of things going and we want to make sure they are effective,” Governor Corzine said. “Additional measures will likely be needed, and we will pursue every advantage to take appropriate action. Make no mistake, this will continue to be our focus: to get the economy stabilized here in New Jersey.”
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/