Increased Education, Pension Payments Drive Largest Budget Since 2008
Brace yourselves, Save Jerseyans: Governor Chris Christie pitched a $32.9 billion FY 2014 budget on Tuesday afternoon in Trenton.
The major spending increases? A $1.676 billion payment to the state’s pension fund and a $97.3 million increase to education spending after a $2 billion increase for FY 2013. Total state aid to New Jersey schools is now close to $9 billion. Governor Christie did announce “$2 million in scholarship grants” for children in chronically failing schools to transfer to out-of-district schools (public or private), a hat tip grace note to the long-languishing Opportunity Scholarship Act.
My question: why not allocate the almost $2.1 billion added back into the bloated education budget to school choice programs? Or use his tremendous political capital to push the Democrat legislature towards deeper cuts? He certainly would have cause to do so given our weak economy and the expense associated with recovering from Sandy! I can’t answer this one for you…
Governor Christie’s team is quick to point out that Governor Christie’s first budget for FY 2011 budget represented a 8.3% decrease over FY 2010. The other way to look at it? This would also be the largest budget since 2008 (when Corzine & Co. spent well over $33 billion).
As always, I invite you to draw your own conclusions. Did you miss it altogether? Click here to read the text of his prepared remarks.