NJ’s Budget is Boring by Design [AUDIO]
The Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget proposal laid out by Gov. Chris Christie is ho-hum at best.
That’s the general consensus in and around the State House in Trenton.
Is it a boring spending plan because people finally realize the state doesn’t have much money or because Democrats understand they can’t seem to override a Christie veto?
One political expert says the budget is actually boring by design.
“The budget is an election year budget and the idea of an election year budget is to try and take issues off the table,” explains Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. “You don’t really want a bunch of angry constituencies headed into campaign season because they’ll hammer you for months for not meeting their needs in that budget.”
This is a gubernatorial election year in New Jersey. All 40 seats in the State Senate and all 80 seats in the General Assembly are also up for grabs this November.
As boring as the budget plan is, says Woolley, if you actually read through it, you will find that there are systematic increases to a number of constituencies so the proposal does include a little more money for lots of people and for needs that are important to New Jersey.
“There’s money in there for Sandy relief,” points out Woolley. “There’s money in there for school districts and higher education……In think the goal was to make sure that there weren’t losers in this budget.”
Democrats say the devil is in the details and they are still going through Christie’s proposal with a fine toothed comb.
Public hearings on the budget have been largely lacking in any drama. Many of the people and special interest groups who have testified are grateful that they aren’t going to see spending cuts.