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By Andrew Pratt | October 22nd, 2009 - 2:49pm
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Four Republican senators held a news conference today to express their growing unease at the failure of Governor Jon Corzine to honestly address plunging tax collections. After refusing to update revenue figures for months, Corzine finally admitted on Monday that tax collections have missed projections by 3.1 percent so far this year. At that pace, the state will have a $1 billion revenue shortfall, adding to the $8 billion to $10 billion deficit projected for next year. Incredibly, the governor responded with only $205 million in accounting shifts and an order to his Cabinet to find just $200 million in possible spending reductions."Governor Corzine has neither admitted the scope of our fiscal problem nor taken real steps to address it," Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said. "If the governor does not confront the crisis decisively now, he will inevitably seek huge tax increases and reductions in services next year that will make New Jersey even more unaffordable to the middle class.""Today, we're offering $200 million in real spending reductions that the governor can make immediately, and we pledge to work with the governor to reduce another $800 million in expenditures this year," Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco said. "We hope the governor will acknowledge the growing crisis and show the leadership to commit to bipartisan solutions.""Our Legislature has been on vacation since the end of June, even as we face the worst fiscal crisis in the state's history," said Senator Joe Pennacchio, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. "In the meantime, the governor has been making the shortfall worse by awarding more grants and aid and expanding the governor's office payroll.""Faced with uncertainty and crisis, the best managers prepare for the worst," said Senator Steve Oroho, also a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee. "Instead, Governor Corzine has consistently ignored a growing problem, putting us on collision course with an unprecedented $8 billion to $10 billion budget deficit next year."Listed below are eight steps the governor could take today to save $200 million. If the governor doesn't think these measures are the best ways to deal with the crisis, Republicans in the Senate stand ready to give an honest hearing to any proposal he has for bringing expenditures in line with a realistic forecast of revenues:Immediately impose a furlough on authorities that are subsidized by the state. Why are subsidized authorities like the sports and exposition authority being given a pass while everyone else is furloughed?Freeze remaining special municipal aid program funds and clamp down on future awards. Just last week, $12 million was given to Newark without even first obtaining an audit for the city which is now one year overdue. There is no accountability and there are no written standards for this program.Freeze remaining extraordinary aid funds for fiscal year towns. Thirty to 50 towns are about to be given awards that didn't require that they meet any objective standards. These towns are in line for a $4 million increase while the other 500 towns in this state received aid cuts.Stop making exceptions to the hiring freeze for nonessential employees. Over the past year, Corzine has made numerous exceptions to his hiring freeze for even his own office and in various departments' management positions.Freeze all discretionary program spending unless is for essential job growth/retention or life-safety matters. This includes spending on programs such as folk arts apprenticeships and road beautification.Make nonunion state employees pay co-pays and premiums that match what workers in the private sector pay. State workers now pay premiums and co-pays that are one-fourth of what private sector employees pay.Impound the pay and benefit payments for political patronage appointments on commissions and boards that meet once per month. Volunteers run most boards and there is no reason why volunteers cannot handle the duties of a board like the board of cosmetology and hairstyling.Accept the recommendations of a former member of the parole board who has pointed out wasteful spending that should be brought under control.  Web: www.senatenj.com  Twitter: twitter.com/senatenj  YouTube: youtube.com/senatenj  Facebook: facebook.com/senatenj

The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

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