New Jersey, when the GOP says “small government” they mean less teachers, hospitals, schools, infrastructure repair and raising the tax burden for middle and lower income folks.
TRENTON — Christopher J. Christie, the first Republican elected governor of New Jersey in 12 years, unveiled a $29.3 billion budget on Tuesday that relies almost exclusively on spending cuts to reverse the sagging fortunes of a state he sees as battered by the recession and choking on its tax burden.
To close a deficit that he asserted was approaching $11 billion, Governor Christie called for the layoffs of 1,300 state workers, closings of state psychiatric institutions, an $820 million cut in aid to public schools, and nearly a half-billion dollars less in aid to towns and cities. He also suspended until May 2011 a popular property-tax rebate program, breaking one of his own campaign promises.
Democrats were quick to characterize Mr. Christie’s proposal as falling disproportionately on the backs of the middle class, the poor, the elderly, schoolchildren, college students and inner-city residents, while leaving largely unscathed the wealthy and most businesses.[…]
But a budget relying almost exclusively on spending cuts puts the state in a much smaller peer group, along with Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — all led by Republicans, a number of them with national aspirations.
“Time has run out, and the bill has come due,” Mr. Christie said in a speech frequently interrupted for applause, mostly from Republicans.
The budget would probably mean higher property taxes for most homeowners, at least in the short term, as local governments try to make up for the diminished state financing. But the governor is also proposing constitutional amendments and legislation to cap property taxes and spending at the local, county and school-district level.[…]
In his speech, Mr. Christie affirmed his stance on the issue, saying New Jersey’s tax burden was already the nation’s costliest. “Mark my words today: If a tax increase is sent to my desk, I will veto it,” he said.
You get what you vote for.