Enclosed is the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget: A Commitment to Rebuilding New Jersey. This budget keeps our promise to the people of New Jersey to put forward a constitutionally-balanced state budget that maintains fiscal discipline in these difficult economic times. After closing an unprecedented $11 billion projected deficit in last year’s budget, this year’s budget proposal continues down the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility. It firmly cements a departure from an engrained Trenton culture that insists on irresponsible, autopilot spending regardless of program effectiveness and is ignorant of the devastating fiscal impact on our State’s economic health.
With this budget we are creating The New Normal in Trenton.
For the second consecutive year, we have provided a budget that reduces government spending; does not raise taxes on New Jersey families; that increases New Jersey’s competitiveness; that makes difficult decisions necessitated by new economic realities; and that continues to fund the key priorities to protect vulnerable New Jerseyans and secure our state’s future growth and prosperity.
It is also an overview of our Administration’s reform agenda aimed squarely at taking on the big issues facing New Jerseyans – bringing fiscal sanity to our state’s out-of-control pension and benefits systems, reforming our education system to ensure every New Jersey child has a great education, and providing critical tax relief to families.
The fiscal year 2012 budget before you spends $29.4 billion – 2.6 percent less than the adjusted fiscal 2011 appropriation for state spending – while providing funding for essential services, programs and priorities, including:
Tax relief for families by doubling the homestead benefit;
Programs and funding to protect the New Jerseyans most in need, such as increased hospital
funding and student financial assistance;
Targeted tax cuts and incentives to grow the economy and create Jersey Jobs;
Increased education aid to every school district in New Jersey;
Fulfilling the statutory commitment to make the state’s pension fund payment; and
A consistent level of municipal aid.
Last year, we made a commitment to decisively change the direction of New Jersey to put our state on a better, more sustainable path and press ahead on the road to growth. The fiscal year 2011 budget was the first step down that road; today, we are continuing to make progress, keeping faith with New Jersey families and making the difficult decisions that are now before us. This budget represents those principles, while maintaining our commitment to do all that we can to care for those in need.