The fiscal crisis in New Jersey’s governments and schools will continue through 2017 as a result of a $13 billion revenue shortfall, ($8 billion on the state level, $5 billion on the local, county and school levels combined) according to a report, Facing Our Future, released by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers. (CNJG)
The report says New Jersey will face a gradual cut in government services of 20%. Increased classroom sizes, from 22 to 28, less police officers and the elimination of services all together.
CNJG recommends solutions we have all heard before. Shared services, consolidations, more county government and less municipal government, county administration of schools.
One thing that is not clear from the write-ups. $7 billion of the $8 billion state revenue shortfall will be pension contributions negotiated by Governor Christie and the Democratic legislature in last years “landmark” pension and benefit reform bill.
One solution not recommended in the report….break the government employees unions’ control of our government.
In 2010 the unions said no to give backs. Thus, New Jersey suffered increased class sizes and police layoffs in our cities. Crime continues to rise in Newark and Camden, but our elected officials can’t do anything about that because the unions control how many police officers can be hired given the money available to pay them.
New Jersey pays unemployment benefits to laid off police officers not to patrol the streets of our cities, while the high paid officers who kept their jobs do the best they can. There are less extreme examples of needless service cutbacks throughout the state.
Practically speaking, there is no question that New Jersey’s public employees control the government. Not the people. Not the elected officials.
New Jersey’s fiscal crisis could be solved easily if the law of supply and demand were applied to the labor market for government workers. Until that happens, if it ever happens, we will continue to pay more for less.
It doesn’t matter how we restructure government so long as the employees are in charge.Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Civil Service Reform, Economy, New Jersey State Budget, Public Employee Unions, Reform Agenda | Tags: CNJG, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, Facing our Future, Fiscal Crisis, Public Employees Unions | 3 Comments »