A Familiar Tale in New Jersey
A recent speech by New Jersey’s new Republican Governor, Chris Christie, to that state’s League of Municipalities sounds some strikingly familiar chords:
Our citizens are already the most overtaxed in America. US mayors hear it all the time. You know that the public appetite for ever increasing taxes has reached an end.
So when we freeze $475 million in school aid, I am hearing the reverberations from school boards saying now you are just going to force us to raise taxes.
Well there is a 4% cap in place as you all know, yet school boards continue to give out raises which exceed that cap, just on salary. Not to mention the fact that most of them get no contribution towards the spiraling increase in health care benefits.
He goes on to explain that the state is going to reduce its spending, give municipalities “the tools helping you to reduce spending at the municipal level,” and change the rules of arbitration to balance the scales during negotiations. My understanding is that the Republican Party is not quite so insignificant in New Jersey, as in Rhode Island, so perhaps Christie will have a shot at moving changes that our own Republican Governor Don Carcieri can only suggest.
On a broader level, we can hope that we’re entering an era in which leaders have some basic familiarity with concepts of cause and effect.