It’s in all the papers today: New Jersey, collapsing under the weight of its budget, has shut down. Governor Corzine — Jonny One-Note, you might say — who ran on a platform of tax cuts now sees only one solution: higher taxes. However, his fellow Democrats who control both state houses don’t care to drink that electoral hemlock. They remember what happened to former — emphasize “former” — Governor Florio, who raised taxes and then disappeared — politically, of course. In other words, Florio sleeps with the political fishes today because he did exactly what Corzine is poised to do. The same political cement shoes may await Corzine.
During last week’s Congressional blog row, Rep. Doolittle (R-CA) noted that 48 of 50 states were running a surplus. The Garden State would be one of the two running a deficit, considered hard to do in these salad days, where federal and state tax revenues are soaring. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) at the same blog row, when asked what he hears from his constituents back home said that although he is a federal official, he hears mostly about property taxes at his town hall meetings. People complain left and right about their enormous tax burden, the one Gov. Corzine wants now to increase.
New Jersey is a major manufacturing state, but it is getting less so as Gov. Corzine seems intent on running all businesses out of the sate. Reported the Wall Street Journal in yesterday’s editorial entitled, “Jon Corzine Florio”, in 2004 alone, 60,000 more people left NJ than moved in, equaling a loss of $1 billion in the state’s personal income. The statistics are staggering: According to our Competitiveness Redbook, NJ ranks 46th (that would be of 50) in net migration; ranks 3d in per capita taxes, 7th in the cost of doing business — a cost that will only increase under Gov. Corzine. Filed under the category of “the cure is worse than the disease” — literally — in May Corzine proposed a “sick tax” — a tax on every hospital bed of almost $1500 per month in the hopes of raising some $430 million in additional revenue. No wonder his fellow Democrats are distancing themselves from him, as his approval rating dips into the 30’s.
And so, because they can’t make ends meet, reports Bloomberg, about 45,000 state employees in 31 departments, agencies and authorities will be furloughed as non-essential functions begin to shut down. Corzine, for his part, foresees a potential state deficit of $4.5 billion.
It’s worth remembering that before entering political life — and spending $60 million of his own money to buy, er, win his Senate seat — Corzine was Chairman of Goldman-Sachs. You’d think he would have learned a thing or two about money and taxes and the spending habits of people who have their taxes increased — and decreased. Federal tax revenues have soared after the last round of tax cuts, yet Corzine can only see tax increases as the solution. No wonder people are leaving in droves. When your biggest export is people, you’re in deep, uh, Turnpike.
For our part, we just hope someone in New Jersey comes to their senses before there are no businesses — or people — left to provide the prosperity Corzine needs to truly rescue a state in serious trouble.