A message from New Jersey State Senate Leader Tom Kean:
“There’s no doubt that these are extraordinary times for New Jersey. However, our governor used hyper-partisan rhetoric to try to persuade state residents that our economic problems began last year with the housing crisis and the stock market collapse.
“In truth, they began six years ago when Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey decided the best way to win re-election was to borrow, tax and spend the earnings of the middle class rather than exercising fiscal discipline during an economic downturn. Governor Corzine wholeheartedly endorsed those job-killing policies and is an enthusiastic advocate of many of them today. He’d rather use a pension gimmick that will cost property tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars than to reopen the budget and, at last, set the state on the right course toward lasting growth and prosperity.
“Make no mistake. The state’s small business climate was ranked last in the nation long before the Dow plunged. New Jersey began losing private jobs three years ago, not three months. In 2007, New York’s rate of private sector employment growth was 12 times that of New Jersey, while Connecticut growth was eight times higher, Massachusetts growth was seven times higher, and Pennsylvania’s was six times higher.
“Governor Corzine did nothing to reverse those policies until polls showed that voters were demanding that he take action in the face of a national recession. Then he adopted measures that he ridiculed when Republicans proposed them in the Common Sense Plan they introduced in May and June. However, he has left many job-killing measures in place, including a $62 million utility tax increase that costs every family and business desperately needed resources during this recession.
“Both Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature are now committed to finding real, long-term solutions to this state’s economic problems. The governor talks tough, but he hasn’t come through. On the economy, on ethics, on transparency in government, we urge the governor to conform his actions to his rhetoric.