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New Jersey Toll Increases

January 11th, 2008 · No Comments · Current Events, New Jersey

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Click on the image above to figure out how much it will cost you to use the NJ Turnpike in the future. 

Gov. Jon Corzine gave his state of the state speech the other day and I think he is proposing changes that are too late and too little. Currently New Jersey has $32 billion dollars in bonded debt. This means that every person in New Jersey is responsible for $3,700 of that $32 billion. Gov. Corzine mentions that the first $860 dollars of state taxes paid immediately goes to paying this debt and the interest on the debt. Gov. Corzine has a four step plan for getting rid of debt:

1. Freeze spending at this year’s current level.

New Jersey brings in $31.9 billion dollars in revenue but the budget for the current year is $33.3. It does no good to freeze spending that already exceeds your revenue. Why has the state committed $500 million dollars to stem cell research when the people of NJ voted against public funding of stem cell research? This year there is $10 million dollars in the budget to fund stem cell research. In a state where everyone is suppose to be well off, why is the state putting out $3.5 billion dollars in welfare? New Jersey is very good to illegal immigrants. They get free education and medical from the state. Can we afford to continue funding people who do not pay taxes? The state has committed an additional $1 million dollars to building a World War II memorial. This brings state funding to $3.6 million dollars for the memorial. I am all for building a memorial, if the state had the money.This is something that private fundraisers should concentrate on, not a state with serious budget issues. Special interest projects need to come out of the budget! If it is not essential to daily operations then it needs to be crossed off until the state can afford to fund it. I won’t even go into how inefficient local governments and the NJ public school system is in this entry. But lets say that funding for education in this state is a joke and there is a real need to consolidate the number of school districts to reduce the cost of providing an education to NJ students.

2. Future budgets will not be allowed to exceed recurring revenue growth.

It already does this year, and you can be guaranteed it will in future years.

3. Utilize toll roads to pay down 50% of the State’s debt and fund statewide transportation investments for a generation.

I know this does not sit well with most people from NJ, however there has not been an increase in toll roads since the 17% increase in 2003. The fact is that half of the people who use these roads are from out of state and Gov. Corzine wants to use their money to fix New Jersey’s problem. However 50% of those using the toll roads are from NJ and a lot of them are providing goods and services.  This means that you as the consumer will pay more for goods in NJ and there will be an increase of traffic on local roads from people who can’t afford the tolls.

4. All future debt issued without a dedicated revenue source must be approved by the voters.

It does not matter what voters tell the state capitol. They do what they want to do based on the special interest groups that give them the money to run for office. Remember $10 million for stem research. I recall voting no to that when I voted in November.

The bottom line is that the state needs to cut spending, not just freeze spending. It needs to end funding for non-essential items until spending and the debt is under control. This state needs to act as though it is a family in deep financial crisis. We need to call Oprah. She has lots of financial wizards on her show helping people get out of debt. We need experts, not our current legislature.

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