A statewide think tank released an in-depth report that attributes the state’s poor economic health to nine specific policy decisions over the past two decades.
New Jersey Policy Perspective, a left-leaning think tank, says in its report that since the early 1990s, lawmakers made irresponsible choices that have contributed to the state’s slow economic growth and deteriorating credit ratings. Former Gov. Jim Florio urged lawmakers September 14 at the report unveiling to read the analysis so they can learn what not to do.
“We are applying old policies to new problems, and it’s not working,” Florio, a Democrat, he said at a press conference.
The report, entitled, “The Notorious Nine: How Key Decisions Sent New Jersey’s Financial Health Spiraling Down Over Two Decades,’outlines the nine key policy decisions as follows:
- 1994-1996: Significant Income Tax Cuts Lead to Large Property Tax Increases;
- 1994 Pension Changes Shift Current Costs to Future Taxpayers;
- 1994 Retiree Health Benefits Fund Raid and Conversion Frees Up Cash for the Tax Cut But Puts Health Benefits on Shaky Foundation;
- Facing Growing Pension Hole in 1997, New Jersey Turns to Reckless Borrowing;
- The New Jersey Supreme Court Opens the Floodgates to More Bad Borrowing;
- Pension Benefits are Increased Without the Means to Pay for Them;
- Long-Term Borrowing to Plug Short-Term Budget Holes Ramps Up;
- The New Jersey Supreme Court Keeps Blessing Dangerous Financial Practices – Until it is Too Late; and
- Money for Long-Term Improvement of Key New Jersey Asset Grabbed to Cover Current Costs