Spending sprees are fun. The responsible cut-backs after such sprees? Not so much fun.
Seems the recent gubernatorial election made a difference in New Jersey. There’s change there. Also hope.
Last November, running on a platform of fiscal sanity, Republican challenger Chris Christie defeated the Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. And it seems that, unlike a certain U.S. president, Christie has every intention of following through.
In early February, Christie told lawmakers that the state’s finances remain a mess and that the budget passed eight months ago is full of “all of the same worn out tricks of the trade” that have driven New Jersey to the edge of bankruptcy.
He said that the legacy of “irresponsible budgeting of the past, coupled with failed tax policies which lie like a heavy, wet blanket suffocating tax revenues and job growth” require extraordinary steps to bring the budget back into balance.
So on his own initiative, Christie is freezing spending across an array of programs. For example, he is cutting the subsidy to New Jersey Transit and urging managers of public transportation to “improve efficiency . . . revisit its rich union contracts,” be more fiscally responsible and efficient. He’s also targeting bloated government pensions and education funding.
Can Governor Christie complete the pivot to fiscal common sense despite the hurricane of opposition he faces? Time will tell. But it would be hard to imagine a better start.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.