Good editorial from the Star-Ledger this morning dealing with the realities of the “unbalanced budget” signed by Gov. Christie yesterday:
“The budget signed yesterday by Gov. Chris Christie will reduce state spending for the third year in a row. The total now is roughly at the same level it was in 2005.
No serious person disputes the need for austerity in these times. We are headed in the right direction.
The pity is that this governor failed to demand the shared sacrifice that he himself made a central criteria for judging the final product. Yesterday, he continued to deny that central fact.
“We tried to spread the pain as evenly as we could,” he told a national television audience.
Here are the facts: The 16,000 families in New Jersey earning more than $1 millon will get an average tax break of $40,000 apiece under this budget. At the same time, a single mom working for minimum wage will pay $300 more in state taxes.
The biggest cuts in this budget are painful but unavoidable. That includes the deep cuts in aid to schools and towns, and in property tax rebates. His single biggest move was to short the pension fund by $3 billion. Together, those moves account for the bulk of the governor’s spending reductions.
The problem is the tax break. If the governor had not insisted on that, he could have softened the blow on the needy considerably.
He would not have had to increase taxes on that working poor mom, or make deep cuts in health care, affordable housing, child-care subsidies and school lunches.
So no, the governor is not spreading the pain. This budget plainly favors the wealthy.
Denying that fact doesn’t make it go away.”