TRENTON – Gov. Jon Corzine outlined a plan to address the local effects of the global economic crisis in an address to a joint session of the Legislature on Oct. 16. The speech was carried live by NJN and is archived on the public television station’s website, njn.net.
Corzine’s plan focused on job creation, prevention of mortgage foreclosures and increasing credit available to businesses. The governor advocated using $500 million from the state’s pension investments to help community banks boost their liquidity and make more money available for loans to local businesses. He also proposed a new program that would give businesses $3,000 for each new full-time job they create and maintain for at least one year.
Corzine also wants to pair newly available federal money with funds from the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to make $150 million available to prevent foreclosures and preserve neighborhoods.
“While some may say our challenge is a problem greater than New Jersey, I say we cannot stand idly by,” Corzine said. “I know New Jerseyans are worried. I know many are hurting. Jobs have been lost. Home foreclosures are rising while values fall. College and retirement savings have been diminished. Too many of our neighbors and friends are living with a layoff, lost healthcare, a mortgage larger than the value of their home, or a late notice on a credit card bill.”
The governor’s proposal also includes rapidly advance planned infrastructure projects – including the rebuilding of urban and suburban schools, expansion of the Turnpike and Parkway, and construction of a new mass transit tunnel – creating an estimated 43,600 jobs.
Corzine also proposed substantial changes in New Jersey’s tax policy to make the state more inviting to small business owners and relocating businesses, while aggressively cultivating the industries of the future to better position the state for years to come in the areas like: off-shore wind energy, solar energy, and projects focused on energy conservation and renewable resources.
Assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Middlesex) praised the governor’s proposal to make changes to New Jersey’s corporate tax structure. “Protecting our businesses now will help ensure that our economic engine – and the jobs it creates – will not stall out if the economy continues to worsen.”
Corzine also said that state government will continue to cut costs and reduce spending to prepare for impending reductions in revenue. Previously, the Governor reduced state spending by almost $3 billion, reduced the overall size of government, and dedicated $650 million toward debt reduction.
Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. (D-Camden) said that the Assembly could consider approvals for some of Corzine’s proposals during its next voting session, which begins on Oct. 27. “This has been a trying time, but I’m pleased the Assembly’s ongoing focus means we’re already positioned to swiftly help hard-working New Jerseyans and the small businesses that employ them get their hands around this challenge and emerge stronger,” he said.
Video commentary from Assembly Democrats
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), chairman of the Senate Economic Growth committee, also backed the plan. “It’s certainly a very significant step for New Jersey on the road to recovery.”
Republican lawmakers advocated a plan that would cut the state’s sales tax in half during the holiday season as a way to boost New Jersey’s economy.
The state lost 3,900 jobs last month, nearly half of them in the financial-services sector, according to data the state labor department released on Oct. 15. The state has nearly 2,000 less jobs than when Corzine took office in January 2006, according to state and federal employment data.
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