ALL TOWNS - Governor Chris Christie gave his address on Tuesday to the state Legislature about the 2010-2011 $28.3 billion budget.
Christie call for cuts in state and local government spending such as a reduction in various forms of municipal aid of $445 million.
And he also touted Proposition 2.5 -- a constitutional amendment that would go to the voters in November, to cap the growth of property taxes at no more than 2.5 percent per year starting next year.
Jersey City, for example, with a current budget of $507 million (yet to be passed) received $14 million in special state aid for their budget for the current year, yet raised taxes twice this year to deal with a budget shortfall of over $40 million. Downtown Jersey City residents have banded together to put together a petition to ask Christie to put a cap on municipal spending at 4 percent.
"No longer will we reward cities and towns who irresponsibly spend," Christie said.
He also talked about reducing $819 million in school aid, saying specifically that school districts will see a reduction equivalent to 5 percent of their total budget.
If Jersey City school district's budget for the next school year stays the same as this year ($629 million), they will see a $31 million cut. One board member has said that cuts could mean massive layoffs.
Other cost-saving measures Christie proposed including reform of the state's pension plan and new rules for arbitation and employee benefits for school districts
Christie used the bully pulpit to also talk tough on stopping what he saw were excess taxation, or "tax madness" in New Jersey. He also bragged about making cuts in the current fiscal year of $13 billion in the first eight weeks in office.
Christie also called for the end of tax rebates, which he called "gimmicks" in 2011 with tax credits showing up on property tax bill.
The state has decided not to renew the income tax on people making over $400,000, which would have brought in $1 billion. - RK