Eileen Norcross has an op-ed in today’s New York Post in which she argues that only substantive reform can fix New Jersey’s budget problem.
[Governor-elect Chris] Christie inherits a state that’s in arguably the worst financial condition in its 233- year history. Last year’s $7 billion shortfall, closed with stimulus dollars and tax hikes, has resurfaced at an even larger $8 billion for 2010. Residents face crippling property taxes (an average of $7,000 per capita), high income and sales taxes, $45 billion in debt and the net loss of 400,000 people since 2000.
This is not the time to tinker at the margins with rebate programs and line-by-line budget deliberations. Without question, turning Trenton on its head means tackling the state’s two greatest and most immediate threats: the Property Tax Relief Fund (PTRF) and unfunded mandates on municipal governments.
Christie has his work cut out for him. Reviving New Jersey will take hard work and persistence, not just by the new governor, but by the people who elected him. They must demand a fundamental rewrite of the rules under which the state and municipal budgets are drafted — and hold their elected leaders to account if they stray off course.
Read the whole thing here.