Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NJ-Budget/Star Ledger Letter 3/17

I rise to Treasurer Rousseau's challenge ("Treasurer dares budget critics to offer better plan," Mar 12, p. 1) .Put together with scissors, paste and bailing wire, the governor' budget will not survive the year. The gale force winds of the global economic crisis will render current and out year revenue forecasts as way too optimistic. Indeed it has worsened the long term structural problems facing the budget especially with respect to pensions.

What is needed is a structural change in the budget. In case you have forgotten the governor was very clear about that last year with his "dog and pony" show promoting securitization of our toll roads. My proposals are simple: 1)the governor has to sit down with his buddies in the public employee unions and renegotiate all of the pension plans covering state and local employees and 2) radically change the Abott v. Burke school funding formula. If that means a constitutional amendment redefining "thorough and efficient", so be it.

My proposals may sound radical, but there is no other long term alternative.

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