By Matt Rooney
New Jersey’s fiscal crisis is deepening as the FY 2020 budget process limps along at the State House. Wasteful spending is rising, income tax revenue is grinding to a halt, and the will for structural reform is completely non-existent. Phil Murphy endeavors to spend $1 billion more in FY2020 than he’s spending this year.
That’s in Trenton, Save Jerseyans. Away from State Street, in the Land of Real Humans? Down at the county level? Many Republican counties are practicing fiscal restraint and providing a dramatic contrast to the capital’s status quo.
Last week, Warren County’s GOP-run freeholder board announced that it’s giving taxpayers not only the lowest tax levy burden since 2013 but the smallest budget in 15 years (2004).
In Monmouth County, the Republican government seated in Freeholder will spend $44 million LESS than it did in 2010.
Ninja accounting? Secret magic? Good luck?
Nope. It all boils down to hard work and priorities.
“As I have said many times before, we do not start working on the budget in the early months of 2019,” Monmouth Freeholder Director Tom Arnone told MoreMonmouthMusings. “Instead, my colleagues and I work throughout the entire year to efficiently run our departments while keeping costs down. I already look forward to working on the following year’s budget and I am certain I will begin meeting with our finance team in the coming weeks.”
You stand a better chance of keeping more of your hard-earned money when you vote for an accountable government that SHARES your priorities.
When you don’t? And let individuals with selfish priorities (like public sector union bosses) exercise disproportionate power? Or sit out elections because “my vote doesn’t matter” (only 1/3 of eligible voters participated in Election 2017)? You get Trenton.
Or Burlington County. Once a GOP stronghold, the South Jersey county flipped to the “D” side this January. The new Democrat freeholder board has already moved to rescind pay-to-play reforms AND dole out big-ticket patronage.
Change is possible, folks! You have to work for it, and accept that your vote and industry actually matter because the ultimate outcome DOES make a difference in all of our bottom lines.
MATT ROONEY is a practicing New Jersey attorney, regular panelist on Chasing News with Bill Spadea, and the founder and blogger-in-chief of Save Jersey.