New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jim Johnson, a former U.S. Treasury official, rolled out a financial plan on Tuesday that he said would have gotten the state an additional $1.3 billion in federal funding during Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure.
The New Jersey state budget approaches $35 billion with nearly $14 billion in federal funds on top of that every year. The pension system alone is facing $135 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to Bloomberg. And full funding for schools, a top policy priority for many Democrats, would add hundreds of millions of dollars to the budget every year.
Spread out over eight years, the $1.3 billion Johnson said the Christie administration failed to get from the federal government would amount to roughly $162 million per year, a drop in the bucket of New Jersey’s total spending.
Johnson said federal funds have been left on the table repeatedly by Christie’s administration, including dollars for Superstorm Sandy victims, for the defunct ARC tunnel project that would have provided an alternate route from New Jersey into New York City, as well as money tied to the Affordable Care Act, among other areas.
Johnson also called for ethics reforms that would “eliminate the use of taxpayer dollars for political patronage.” He said he would eliminate no-bid contracts, stop the “revolving door” of lobbyists going into government and back, and ban pension “double dipping.”
“Each year, the average New Jersey taxpayer pays $11,497 in federal taxes, but only gets back $8,837 in federal spending — that’s the largest gap of any state,” Johnson said. “Under the Christie administration, New Jersey has lost out on more than one billion dollars in federal funding due to sheer incompetence and mismanagement. New Jerseyans deserve to know where their hard-earned money is going, how it is being spent, and what they are getting in return.”