Posts Tagged ‘budget’

No Stomach for Real Pension Reform in New Jersey

In June, 2011 New Jersey made some modest reforms to the state’s pension system and also took away cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) on payouts.  At the time:

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COLAs will come back if the judicial system in this state works in any responsible manner (translation: 50/50 chance) essentially gutting those 2011 reforms and yet, as we found out earlier this afternoon, more needs to be done:

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Weightiest State Debt Burden

The State Budget Solutions website came out with a very useful chart on state debt yesterday.  However they painted California as the poster-state for profligacy.  They’re not but some other state clearly is.

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5 WOWs

In researching for this Monday’s presentation in Cranford on county taxes and debt  I went through campaign contribution records, 10 years worth of audits, budgets from all 21 counties along with comparative debt statements and Annual Financial Statements. There were at least 5 times when I was stunned at what passes for legal in New Jersey. You may have more.

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Christie’s Pension Whoppers

In what might be a record, Reggie Miller once hit consecutive threes against the Knicks in the space of a few seconds:

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It wasn’t that Reggie Miller hadn’t ever hit two shots consecutively. It was the rapidity and deftness of execution combined with the game situation that astounded.

So it was today when Governor Christie talked pensions in his budget address:
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Politicians lie all the time but rarely have two whoppers been shot off so quickly with so little time left.

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What Public Budgets Must Pay For

Local government budget season is upon us and again the Union County Watchdog Association expects to review the county budget in detail for 2012. 

To run a jail and a nursing home, take care of the parks, fund the Prosecutors Office, provide social services, keep track of land records, and run elections they will need about $400 million.  The other $100 million will go to repay campaign contributors.

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Backward Thinking on Tax Reform Is Backfiring in NJ

Governments in New Jersey are bloated with no-show jobs, no-bid contracts, and kickbacks to political sponsors which is a primary reason that taxes here are the highest in the nation.

However, the ‘starve-the-beast’ tactic that New Jersey politicians continue to use is making things much worse as political machines are thinking up projects that will fall into the debt-exception so that favored donors can keep getting their contracts and cronies can keep their jobs.  Here is a particularly clumsy example of how it works.

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The Politics behind one NJ budget cut

Among the cuts Governor Christie made in the newly adopted state budget was $3 million from “Union County Inmate Rehabilitation services” (listed here under Department of Corrections). Apparently the original budget allocated a $2.5 million increase from last year, the legislature bumped it up to $5.5 million, and Christie wouldn’t go for it. After you get past the bromides there is a real lesson in politics behind this cut and I still have more to learn.

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Somebody believes the economy has rebounded and here’s why

When preparing a municipal budget in New Jersey you cannot anticipate more in revenue for the current year than you realized in the prior year unless you have a very good reason acceptable to the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS).  For 2011 Union County wants to anticipate $6,700,000 million in revenue from real estate transactions when they made $6,090,817 in 2010, down steadily from a high of $13,045,332 in 2005.   Their reason (taken from a supporting letter to the DLGS): Continue reading

Budget Desperation

Union County is not announcing layoffs, primarily because of a desperate budget gimmick that is about to blow up in all our faces.

Per statute (40A:4-26) you cannot anticipate more revenue than you collected last year for each line item unless you get state approval. The state turned them down last year on two items. Here’s the video evidence (with a brief introduction to give you a flavor of the atmosphere at these gatherings):

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My first Morris County freeholder meeting

I don’t know what I expected but it certainly wasn’t what I witnessed at the March 23, 2011 meeting of the freeholders where a public hearing was supposed to take place on their 2011 budget.

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