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State of the State: New Jersey in 2011

Harris Kenny
April 1, 2011, 4:16pm

This is the eighth of a ten-part series on the 2011 State of the State (SOTS) speeches in states with the ten worst projected relative budget deficits for FY 2012. Budget data is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities‚?? (CBPP) recent budget report, and SOTS speech text is from Stateline. CBPP‚??s data on states‚?? FY 2012 budget deficits as a percentage of their FY 2011 budget is the benchmark for relative budget deficits.

According to CBPP, New Jersey faces the third worst relative budget deficit in the nation in FY 2012, equaling roughly 37.4 percent of the state‚??s FY 2011 budget; and the fourth highest absolute budget deficit, totaling over $10.5 billion.

On January 11, 2011 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his SOTS address (full text available here). Governor Christie deliberately highlights successful state spending cuts, property tax caps, interest arbitration award caps, and closing consecutive budget deficits of $2 billion in FY 2010 and $11 billion in FY 2011. He then prefaces the remainder of his SOTS saying:

Instead of (providing a) long list of initiatives for the year head... (He wants) to highlight not the small things, but the major challenges that (New Jersey) has ignored for too long and that (it) must confront now. For New Jersey; it‚??s time to do the big things.

Below are the policy highlights from Gov. Christie‚??s address:

Policymakers in the Garden State have been engaged in high-profile budget wrangling over the past few years, and it appears that will continue as the State grapples with persistent budget deficits. For additional policy tools they should refer to the American Legislative Exchange Council‚??s (ALEC) State Budget Reform Toolkit and Reason Foundation‚??s Annual Privatization Report 2010: State Government Privatization section. For the previous articles in this SOTS series, see: Louisiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Nevada, Connecticut, Minnesota and Oregon.

Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst

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