You pick up the newspaper and see the national unemployment rate rising above 8%. You see neighbors losing their jobs, their homes and their health care. People worry they might be next.
The economy may not be “in shambles” as Warren Buffet remarked last week, but it is clear that this is no ordinary recession. And the costs of this economic crisis are exacting a serious, human toll.
People from all walks of life are tightening their belts. Around the kitchen table, every family knows what it means to make tough choices in these tough times. But people also understand the importance of making the right choices. They identify their most important priorities, and they change their spending habits to live within their means.”
That is how New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine began his annual budget speech.
He then went on to say that state government is in the same position as its people and must make hard choices. But as is the case with most of Governor Corzine’s words, that is not exactly the case.
What Governor Corzine forgets is that our state government and all its largess exists on the backs of its residents. Every clandestine union contract he has negotiated, every state mandate he has supported and every state employee he has hired is paid for not by a needy government but by suffering taxpayers who flip the bill for government.
So it is not true that New Jersey state government is “in the same position” as New Jersey citizens. New Jersey state government ushered in an economic crisis years before the national economy realized its banking crisis and tightening up of the flow of money.
Governor Corzine tried to paint a picture of a state government that is suffering as much as its people. What he failed to make clear is that the people are suffering because of what his state government is costing them and doing to them. What he failed to do was spare the taxpayer from suffering even more in the name of government. What Corzine did do is demand more sacrifices from the taxpayer for the benefit of the state government bureaucracy.
In his budget address, despite his contention that he is not growing the size of government, he failed to make government smaller and he failed to make life better for the citizens of New Jersey. Instead he made things worse.
Rather than try to turn around New Jersey’s dismal, worst in the nation, business environment he increased the already high taxes that decimated business in New Jersey and instead of attracting new business to New Jersey he increased the state‘s payroll tax and made the state less attractive to conduct business in.
Rather than reduce the state’s, highest in the nation property tax burden, he increased it even more.
Instead of cutting government costs and eliminating programs or implementing a hiring freeze, the governor expanded programs.
In his budget address, Governor Corzine portrayed himself as a man having to make tough decisions, yet what he proved to us is that he lacks the courage to make those tough decisions.
He refuses to make needed decisions to reform his bureaucracy. He refuses to reform the state’s under funded, deficit riddled pension system and he refuses to stand up to costly government mandates that will ruin entire communities in New Jersey from High Point in the North to Cape May in the South.
As liberal philosophy dictates, Corzine’s budget speech made it clear that increased taxes are his answer. It is the same thinking that led Corzine to raise taxes by nearly 2 billion dollars when he first came into office. Yet, even though he raised those taxes, today we are in a deficit of almost 2 billion dollars.
What went wrong?
The answer is that his leadership offered policies that did not shrink the size and scope of the states bureaucratic jungle but did make it more expensive to operate. That increase was passed on to the taxpayers and that subsequently worked against the state. Instead of meeting state revenue projections, we fell short. Instead of growing our economy, Corzine’s tax increases helped to shrink our economy and that helped to further reduce state revenues.
And what is the Governor’s proposed solution?
He gives us more of the same that got us to where we are today.
He raises sin taxes, business taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes and more. He even has the gall to portray his elimination of property tax rebates to the taxpayer as a budget cut. He is not cutting the budget, he is simply costing the taxpayer more.
But such is the thinking of a liberal Governor. Such is the work of a self proclaimed Wall Street financial guru who exited Goldman-Sachs with a golden parachute of more than 400 million dollars. This is the best he can do even with billions of extra dollars that his state is getting from the recent stimulus package.
How would he have maintained his political bureaucracy had New Jersey not received federal assistance?
The answer is simple. Corzine’s liberal thought process would have led him to propose tax increases much higher than he just did.
Do New Jerseyans really want four more years of this thinking? Aside from his questionable ethical practices and secret union negotiations with his girlfriend, do they really want four more years of Corzine’s Bernie Madoff economic practices? Do they really want more of the same unaccountable conduct and endless tax increases?
New Jerseyans need to realize that government is not always the answer and that more government is not a solution. If Governor Corzine could grasp that fact, he would ask the political bureaucracy of state government to sacrifice more than he is asking the citizens of New Jersey to sacrifice.
Lacking that understanding, on top of questionable ethics that he seems to have learned at The Governor Jim McGreevey School of Ethics, Governor Corzine is simply implementing economic policies that were seemingly taught at the Bernie Madoff School of Economics and as a result, all New Jerseyans are getting ripped off.
When Albert Einstein died, he met three men in line outside the Pearly Gates. To pass the time, he asked what their IQs were.
The first replied 190. “Wonderful,” exclaimed Einstein. “We can discuss the contribution made to my mass-energy equivalence concept by Kenneth Bainbridge and his cyclotron research efforts “.
The second answered 150. “Good,” said Einstein. “I look forward to discussing the role of nuclear-free legislation in the quest for world peace“.
The third man mumbled 50.
Einstein paused, and then asked, “So what is your forecast for the budget deficit next year?”