The Governor’s Budget allows the Office of Information Technology to invest $10 million in critical upgrades to IT infrastructure. OIT will also receive $2 million to improve the State’s information and data security and $2 million to launch the State’s IT Modernization Initiative, which will lead to replacements and enhancements for the State’s aging IT systems.
The Treasury Department will consolidate contracts for warranties and maintenance. The contracts with companies that service and maintain State equipment will then be put out for bid. Other states that have sought similar bids have booked savings of 20% to 40%. New Jersey expects to save $1.4 million in fiscal year 2012, with savings rising substantially in subsequent years.
Pursuant with the recommendation of the Privatization Task Force, the NJDOT has evaluated the effectiveness of the Emergency Patrol Program and as such, will realign service so as to focus on high density, high volume and high incident areas along core urban interstates and freeways. This realignment under a renamed Safety Service Patrol will allow the NJDOT to realize $6 million in annual savings.
An estimated $750,000 will be saved by replacing current staff with a private promoter/operator at the Veterans Memorial Arts Center in Trenton. The Governor’s Privatization Task Force recommended this change for the Center, which was called the Trenton War Memorial until last year.
New Jersey is beginning to recover from the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression, but that recovery is still slow, fragile and painful for out-of-work New Jerseyans and their families. The damage caused by past years of fiscal mismanagement, along with the lingering aftermath of the national economic downturn, will continue to restrain State spending for years to come. The harsh reality is that the New Normal of the current economic and fiscal climate necessitates difficult and painful choices in how the State spends scarce taxpayer dollars.
At a time when New Jersey families remain among the highest-taxed in the nation and the climate for job growth remains tepid, the only responsible way to deal with the reality of depressed revenue levels is through fiscal restraint. Even though the private sector is beginning to show signs of life, imposing higher taxes would add a wet blanket to New Jersey’s economic recovery. Responsible, but difficult constraints on spending remain the only hope for reviving the state economy and generating enough revenue to fund priorities.
As in fiscal year 2011, spending in nearly every State agency has been constrained in fiscal year 2012. Funding for many worthwhile, popular programs must be reduced or eliminated in order to fund necessary priorities in this year’s Budget:
The Department of Children and Families will reduce its workforce through attrition, saving $824,000.
As part of a multi-year effort at reforming the care of troubled and mentally ill children, the State will phase out its Ewing and Vineland residential treatment centers for a savings of $557,000. Some of the $11.6 million in State and federal aid spent to operate