With State’s Budget In ‘Shambles,’ New Governor Slices Into School Surpluses, NJ Transit Subsidies; Dems Furious
TRENTON (CBS) ―The snow isn’t the only thing that’s causing a chill in the Garden State.
Calling New Jersey’s budget a “shambles,” Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he is immediately freezing all state spending.
Saying New Jersey is on the verge of bankruptcy, Christie declared a fiscal emergency, announcing drastic cuts. Among them, aid to school districts that have excess surpluses.
“Today we are going to act swiftly to fix problems too long ignored. Today I begin to do what I promised the people of New Jersey I would do,” Christie said.
The move had Democrats in an uproar, angry the governor used his executive powers instead of working with the Legislature.
“What that’s going to mean is that those school districts without that money are going to be raising property taxes in the upcoming year to make up for that shortfall,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-19th District.
The governor also cut state subsidies to New Jersey Transit, saying it needs to become fiscally efficient.
“Revisit its rich union contracts,” Christie said. “And they may also have to consider service reductions or fare increases.”
“It’s really foolish. It undermines not only the environment but our economy because people need transit to get to work,” said Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club.
But one tax group applauded the governor.
“Yes it’s going to be difficult to make some of these choices as were highlighted today, but education, health care and these things tend to be sacred cow and they need to be taken out of that category,” said Jerry Cantrell of the Taxpayers’ Association of New Jersey.
Fellow Republicans said some school districts have been abusing the money they get and it’s about time a governor called them on it.
“I think the record indicates that there are a number of school districts that have been overspending, misappropriating,” said Assemblyman Joe Mallone, R-30th District.
The governor said he doesn’t anticipate schools cutting programs or jobs right now, but sources within the administration said there are no guarantees for the next fiscal year.
Christie warned lawmakers that next year’s budget may include even harsher cuts in spending and aid.
Blue Dog Democrats want Congress to go further than President Barack Obama’s proposal to freeze spending in next year’s budget.
The group of House centrists will soon introduce a bill capping discretionary spending at specific levels. The move would challenge their leadership and the president, who are balancing concerns with the nearly $1.6 trillion deficit in 2010 with those who say government spending on job creation is the way out of the recession.
The spending levels sought by the Blue Dogs may result in spending cuts, which would go beyond Obama’s proposal to save $250 billion over the next decade by freezing non-security discretionary spending for three years, said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a senior Blue Dog.
“Two hundred and fifty billion is a lot of savings with a freeze on discretionary spending, but I think we can do better,” Hill said in a brief interview.
The group has yet to hash out the details on the spending caps bill, but it has near-unanimous support among its members, a Blue Dog aide said.
The Blue Dog Coalition, 54 members strong, has enough votes to block any budget resolution, a fact House leaders are well-aware of.
Congress just raised the debt ceiling almost $2 Trillion to somewhere around $14.4 TRILLION. Barack Obama is about to “unveil” his 2011 budget. No surprise that it is another $3,800,000,000,000.00 ($3.8 Trillion), because this ZERO just loves looking at himself. My head is about to explode from the recklessness and chaos coming out of the Executive Branch. ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?
As President Obama prepares to unveil his $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins Oct. 1, the White House is projecting the current fiscal year will end with a $1.6 trillion deficit, congressional sources confirmed to Fox News.
Next year’s budget will have a nearly $1.3 trillion debt, according to those sources, dropping to just over half that — $700 billion in fiscal year 2013 — before jumping back up to $1 trillion in 2020, the furthest out that budgeters will predict.
A $1.6 trillion deficit would represent more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product, but the White House says over the next 10 years, the average deficit will represent only 4.5 percent of GDP annually. Last year’s deficit was $1.42 trillion.
The numbers come as the president and congressional Democrats have pivoted from preparing a $1 trillion health care proposal to focusing on jobs and the deficit. Speaking at the State of the Union last week, Obama told a joint session of Congress that he wants to freeze spending — beginning in 2012 — on discretionary spending except the military, veterans and homeland security. The president said that would save $250 billion over 10 years.
“There’s a three-year discretionary spending freeze and that is to say there is a three-year cap on domestic discretionary spending,” said Obama senior adviser David Axelrod on CNN. “Within that cap we’re going to have to prioritize just like every business or every family would, so we’re going to have to do away with the things that we don’t need in order to pay for the things that we do.”
Too bad David, the Chicago Hack, does not give the whole story.
I am happy to hear that we are finally going to get some discipline on spending, but Greta, remember, these programs that he is talking about freezing for three years, over the last 18 months, the average increase in spending for these agencies has been over 50%. So even if you freeze their spending for 3 years, they are so ahead of the game because they got huge appropriations last year and the year before, and on top of that, they got that massive amount of stimulus spending.
Let’s get back to the leaderless government.
“We don’t expect this is going to be easy,” Fox Business Network reported White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer saying. Pfeiffer added that the White House proposed cuts last year but Congress funded programs anyway.
But keeping budget deficits where they are currently projected will happen only if tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 expire as scheduled at the end of this year. The White House calculates tax hikes would generate $1.2 trillion in revenue over 10 years.
“We just did an 84 percent increase in a very short period of time of all this new spending. Democrats, since they took over Congress, increased domestic discretionary spending by $1.4 trillion,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“We don’t think taking all this money out of the private economy up to Washington and spending it through Washington is the way to create jobs. We believe we should keep that money in the economy,” Ryan added.
Congressional sources say Obama’s new budget will propose extending the popular middle-class tax breaks of $400 per individual and $800 per couple through 2011. They were due to expire after this year.
What good does this bribe do when one is unemployed or facing imminent unemployment because the company you work for is going under due to policies being implemented by the OBAMA CHAOS ADMINISTRATION?
(Editor’s note: I am desperately trying to find a clip from Greta and Steve Moore in the last week talking about Congress raising the debt ceiling. 1.28 or 1.29.2010 If anyone has this clip, please let me know in comments or on the contact page. Very Important!)
It is really hard to believe that White House advisors did not plan to implement a spending freeze the day before the SOTU when they have increased discretionary domestic spending by $140 BILLION DOLLARS since Bambi was installed. Now they want to save $15 Billion next year? They will be spending an additional $1.5 TRILLION of our money over the next ten years. What a joke. Are you falling for it?
Karl Rove explains the shell game (starting at 7:20 ) that Barack Obama and his staff are playing with the ‘spending freeze’ that is being implemented, with complimentary white boards explaining the MATH!
And Chuck agrees – Obama just locked in a higher budget rate.