November 9, 2012
NEW JERSEY MAYORS URGE COMPROMISE ON BUDGET CUTS AND TAXES
TO AVOID THE ‘FISCAL CLIFF’
Today, League of Municipalities’ leaders asked all members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to work together to pass compromise legislation to avert sequestration and avoid the “fiscal cliff” was sent on behalf of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. The League has also asked all Mayors to contact Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and their Congressmen on this. (See that letter at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2012-1109-fiscal-cliff.html)
As you may recall, in the Summer of 2011, as our Nation approached its debt limits, the Obama Administration and Congress reached agreement on a plan that allowed the government to continue to operate, and that would significantly reduce the Federal deficit over the next 10 years. The agreement called for mandatory cuts (sequestrations), beginning in 2013, if Congress failed to enact a 10 year $1.2 trillion deficit deduction bill. Absent further Congressional action, the mandatory cuts will apply to both mandatory and discretionary spending.
At the same time, and again, absent further Congressional action, several previously enacted tax cuts are scheduled to expire. The combination of higher taxes and reduced Federal spending would push the U.S. over, what has been referred to as, the “fiscal cliff.” While the deficit would be drastically reduced, economic activity would be significantly slowed. Conversely, extensions of the tax cuts and relaxation of the sequestration requirements would balloon the Federal deficit and increase the national debt.
As the economy begins to recover, municipalities continue to deal with the prolonged effects of the economic downturn. We still face struggling housing markets, slow consumer spending, and high levels of unemployment. Added to all of these, many will now need to address the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. The effects of these factors continue to drive declines in local revenues used to fund important local priorities.
“In response to the downturn, local officials have made and continue to make the tough choices to balance their budgets” said Elizabeth Mayor and League Past-President J. Christian Bollwage. “Many of us have cut personnel, cancelled job-creating infrastructure projects, and cut back on key services for our residents. But, even with those challenges, New Jersey Mayors continue to find innovative ways to invest in the long-term health of our communities, and our local economies are starting to show signs of a slow recovery”.
“Sequestration is not a responsible way to achieve deficit reduction,” noted League President, Mayor Art Ondish of Mount Arlington Borough. “Automatic cuts to vital defense and non-defense programs, in January 2013, would have a devastating impact on our economic recovery. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that sequestration combined with the expiration of current tax provisions could very well lead to another recession.”
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609) 695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.
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