Monday, March 7, 2011

Christy Whitman starved the New Jersey "beast" & teachers are supposed to pay the price...

The Washington Post, September 5, 1994:
The first thing Christine Todd Whitman did upon taking office as governor of New Jersey in January was to cut the state's income tax. Then in July, as she signed into law her first state budget, the Republican cut taxes again while simultaneously closing the huge deficit left by her predecessor.
This is what her supporters call the Whitman miracle, the fiscal accomplishment that has sent her stock soaring among New Jersey's voters and transformed her on the national scene from a political unknown into one of the Republican Party's newest stars.

But the key to the Whitman miracle lies neither in her political philosophy nor in her spending cuts, but rather in the fine print of her budget. Contained there is a series of arcane fiscal changes that some experts say amount to this: Christine Todd Whitman has balanced New Jersey's books and paid for her tax cut by quietly diverting more than $1 billion from the state's pension fund.
Whitman calls what she did a "reform" of the pension system that puts it on a more "sound actuarial footing." Others are less charitable. The one thing that even the actuarial consultants hired by the Whitman administration agree on, however, is that the chief effect of the changes will be to shift billions of dollars in pension obligations onto New Jersey taxpayers 15 to 20 years from now.
Well,  as Media Matters reminds us, it's been "15 to 20 years" and the blame is all on teachers and other state workers' negotiated pensions.  Has current NJ GOPer Guv Chris Christie lashed out at his predecessor, that other Christy, who set this wreck in motion - as he has at various alleged malefactors?  No - not a peep.  GOP "starve the beast" dogmas and a total lack of fiscal or moral responsibility for "Tax Cuts Uber Alles" ideology are in full effect among these craven "conservative" culprits.  Totally disgusting and utterly predictable...

Thanks to Media Matters for bringing some history to bear on present predicaments - they have the full story HERE.