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Lou in the News
January 2, 2009
By John Reitmeyer
Governor Corzine now faces a recession-fueled budget hole of $2.1 billion and plans to cut more spending, use surplus funds and hope for help from Washington.
The governor laid out the latest news on the state's fiscal outlook in the context of the faltering economy today. He said the total fallout for New Jersey from the ongoing recession is now pegged at $2.1 billion, up from the last estimate of $1.2 billion. All state revenue sources except for the lottery are down at least 5 percent, he said.
"The pace of fall off in revenues is picking up steam each month," he said.
To dig out of the hole, the state will cut $812 million in spending this fiscal year, with employee salary raises and pension contributions among the items in the crosshairs.
Some aid programs for schools and municipalities will also be curtailed as part of the broader spending cut.
Other programs, such as cancer grants and a new voting system, will also be casualties of the economy, he said.
Corzine, a former Wall Street executive, said he and staff went "literally, line-by-line" in the budget to find places to cut. More details about cuts will be made public Monday, he said.
Asbury Park Press
December 26, 2008
By Louis Greenwald
The fact New Jersey is caught in the throes of an international economic recession is neither escapable nor debatable. New Jerseyans are becoming all too familiar with tighter household budgets and the specter of job loss. On a state level, a precipitous drop-off in revenues threatens the future of the programs many rely on.
To be sure, this recession is not New Jersey's creation, nor can New Jersey solve it all on its own. But there are steps we can and must take to help the state and its residents.
Already, Gov. Jon Corzine and the Legislature have moved together on a number of initiatives to provide direct assistance to the families that need it most, ensure families don't lose their homes to foreclosure and give businesses the tax breaks and incentives they need to stay open.
All are things that need to be done. But we should take a page from history and use this economy as a means to undertake critical projects that can provide jobs in the short-term while building infrastructure that can serve the state for the long term.
In a sense, we may not be at the doorstep of another Great Depression, but there's no reason we should not be embracing another New Deal. Rebuilding roads and bridges and constructing new schools can be the means for creating the leading edge of a recovery.