TRENTON – Dogged about preserving Democratic values in his budget but also grimly cognizant of a national recession, Gov. Jon Corzineproposed his $29.8 billion budget today before a joint session of the legislature.
“The budget is $1 billion less than it was in 2006 (Corzine’s first budget as governor),” the governor told the crowd packed in the Assembly chamber.
But Republicans denounced the governor’s proposed three-quarters of one percent tax increase on those making over $500,000 for one year, and cited his property tax rebate freezefor homeowners making more than $75,000 as an assualt on the middle class.
Corzine made it known early in his speech that he won’t touch vital children’s education programs and he won’t touch seniors’ property tax rebates alone.
He proposed cuts to 850 line items, including furloughs and wages for state workers, rebates and pension contributions, and arts and humanities funding, and a 2% cut to municipal aid.
“I may not have done what was popular, but you can be damn sure I’ve always done what I thought was right,” said Corzine, who told the lawmakers assembled before him thatt with their help he has turned a 20-year spending state trend in the right direction.