New Jerseyans have the highest tax burden in the nation. To balance the budget, Governor Christie has to close a $10.7 billion deficit. His goal is to end New Jersey's "addiction to spending" and to find ways to reduce the taxpayers' burden.

How will he accomplish this task?

Slash state education spending by more than $1 billion
Skip $3 billion in pension payments - NJ pension plan is currently underfunded by $46 billion
Cut property tax rebates
Cut $445 million in aid to towns
Lay off approximately 1,300 state workers in 2011.

Will this plan really help taxpayers? Cutting spending at the state level doesn't mean that taxes won't rise at the local level. Somehow, local governments find a way to keep the status quo and pass the burden on to the taxpayer.

Isn't cutting the property tax rebate really a tax increase? The pension plan hasn't been fully funded in years. It's an accident waiting to happen. Couldn't we cut 13,000 state workers rather than 1,300? True reform would be reducing spending and taxes by 10% and 10% more next year like many private sector companies have. After all, NJ government payrolls swelled in 2009 by 11,300 workers as private sector payrolls fell by 121,000.

I guess I see the Governor's plan as politics as usual. Is he changing the tide? Yes. He could be raising taxes and avoid making any decisions as NJ lawmakers have done 115 times in the last 8 years. True reform to me would be a tax decrease. I guess he has 3 more years to convince me that he is the reformer that he says he is.
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Steve Belli

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