“Today, we are fulfilling the promise of a smaller government that lives within its means. Today, we begin doing what we promised we would do. The defenders of the status quo have already begun to yell and scream. They will try to demonize me. They will seek to divide us rather than unite us. But even they know in their hearts, if not yet in their minds – it is time for a change.
“Never forget, some of those shouting the loudest are the architects of the disaster we are now suffering. Do we really want another decade of economic failure? No, this spring it is time to clear away the underbrush to make room for growth.
“So, today, we stop sweeping problems under the rug. We will not hide our problems until another day. And we are certainly not increasing the tax burden we place upon our people.
“Today, we are taking necessary and decisive action to reduce state spending and reform state government. The problems we have hidden for twenty years are evident for all to see. The day of reckoning has arrived.
“We did not dig the hole in which we find ourselves in a day or a year. The massive gap between our resources and our appetite has built up over twenty years. It has been dug by a lack of discipline and unwillingness to say no; made deeper by poor policy choices along the way and quick fixes to avoid tough decisions.
“And now that hole is a grand canyon. The distance between New Jersey’s projected revenues for next year and the state’s spending obligations under current law, if nothing is changed, is $10.7 billion. As a percentage of the prior fiscal year’s $29 billion budget, it is a massive deficit – the largest deficit of any state in America, and the largest in our own history – by far. No fiscal crisis we have had in New Jersey’s history compares to this one.
“My budget proposes to review state government from top to bottom, and bring it under control. My budget proposes that we reform the way New Jersey government operates; and that we demand reform from the local governments we fund as well.
“My budget proposes that we end the days when New Jersey is a national leader in per person taxes, per person debt, and unemployment – and that we instead turn New Jersey into a national leader in job creation, growth, and opportunity.
“The time for change has arrived, and it is time to get to work.
“This plan requires sacrifice by all New Jerseyans. But it is a shared sacrifice. And while holding the line is difficult today, it is necessary for a better tomorrow.
“The watchwords of this budget are shared sacrifice and fairness. Individuals contribute, businesses sacrifice, local governments tighten their belts, and we end our addiction to spending. Everyone comes to the center of the room – we jump off the cliff together to stave off certain fiscal death for the hope of economic salvation tomorrow.”