Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Jersey deficit fight may become Americans deficit fight

While sipping on some Chai Tea this morning and watching Morning Joe, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was on explaining the cuts being made to balance the budget. An ad was also shown that is being run by the teachers union in New Jersey stating that cuts being proposed by Governor Christie will hurt the children in the state. Currently New Jersey is facing a $10.7 billion deficit and teachers are outraged with the proposed cuts to education. On Morning Joe, Governor Christie mentioned that part of his plan is to ask the teachers of New Jersey to freeze their pay for a year and contribute 1.5% of their salary toward health care. Currently the teachers in New Jersey pay nothing toward their health care benefits. Earlier in the year Governor Christie successfully implemented a similar 1.5% contribution from all state workers so why are the teachers balking?

Madeline Avery of Absegami High School said, "He could fix this problem by reinstating the millionaire's tax and restore the money Trenton has promised New Jersey schools" (http://www.nbc40.net/view_story.php?id=12844). David Rosen, legislative budget and finance officer, does not believe that reinstating the "millionaire's tax" will result in wealthy residents leaving the state and points to Maryland's 2008 tax increase on millionaires as proof (http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/04/new_jersey_analyst_says_rich_s.html). Can one make that assumption from state to state?

Many of you may be asking yourself why I am talking about budget deficits in New Jersey when I live in Minnesota. The reason for bringing this to light is that New Jersey has a Governor that is making tough decisions and is not looking for a Federal government handout. With other states, like California, teetering on the brink of Greece like trouble and looking for the Federal Government to intervene is alarming. Taxes are not the answer in every case. Residents of these states and Americans in general need to demand more accountability from our elected officials. Just as each of us understand that we cannot run our households with maxed out credit cards. When I was laid off last year, I didn't turn to the government to pay my bills or ask my neighbors to chip in extra to make my house payment. Instead, along with my wife, I sat down and looked at my savings, checking and budget to determine what changes were required.

Why do we not expect and demand the same from our government? Why do some feel the answer is just to tax the rich? States, to not fall like Greece, need their residents to buck up and demand more from their elected officials to be fiscally responsible. No longer can our States rely on the Federal Government for a bailout. That form of a bailout will impact every America as it will be States that are responsible to pay the bill. Or are we giving up on State Soverienty?