Corzine’s Secret Cuts Prompt Lawsuit

STATE—Gov. Jon Corzine says that the deficit in this year’s budget is much larger than $1.2 billion previously identified by State Treasurer David Rousseau.

Consequently, Corzine will be cutting the current state spending plan of $32.9 billion by a staggering $2.1 billion and there are signs that the $5 billion deficit projected for next year’s budget will loom even higher.

Corzine’s spending cuts will include a $15 million retreat in municipal aid; $75 million reduction in public school funding, and $152 million from a proposed salary freeze.

That will result in a $90 million property tax hike spread around the state, unless local officials find ways to reduce spending when the governor lets them know how much each jurisdiction is losing.

Corzine been assuring the public for several months that he has finances under control, but Republicans in the state Senate have gone to court because the governor’s office failed to release documents requested more than a month ago under the Open Public Records Act.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said Corzine has not released requested records showing what is being done about the $1.2 billion shortfall in the budget revealed by state officials soon after the economic crisis hit.

Despite the nation’s flagging economy, these serious budget issues and a host of other problems confronting New Jersey, the governor traveled to Iraq so he could hold a conference call with New Jersey reporters Monday.

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