I have substantial family connections in New Jersey–and lived there on three separate occasions. However, despite the many positive connections, I was unwilling to put down roots there when newly married. Why? It came down to a couple of things: cost of living and cost of regulation. Just living there was very expensive, based in large part on property taxes and income taxes. Then there was the cost of regulation which was passed down to us in the form of out-of-sight auto insurance rates and the like. (And yes, I understand that the cost of living often includes regulation.)
Were I to find myself in the New Jersey of today, rather than the one of 10 years ago, I might think really hard about staying:
[Governor Christie] inherited a $2.2 billion deficit, and next year’s projected deficit of $10.7 billion is, relative to the state’s $29.3 billion budget, the nation’s worst. Democrats, with the verbal tic — “Tax the rich!” — that passes for progressive thinking, demanded that he reinstate the “millionaire’s tax,” which hit “millionaires” earning $400,000 until it expired Dec. 31. Instead, Christie noted that between 2004 and 2008 there was a net outflow of $70 billion in wealth as “the rich,” including small businesses, fled. And he said previous administrations had “raised taxes 115 times in the last eight years alone.”
So he closed the $2.2 billion gap by accepting 375 of 378 suggested spending freezes and cuts. In two weeks. By executive actions. In eight weeks he cut $13 billion — $232 million a day, $9 million an hour. Now comes the hard part.
Two weeks and he saved $2.2 billion–by not spending money the state does not have. What a concept. I’ve no doubt the governor has a very difficult path ahead of him but I am grateful and encouraged by the progress which he has made thus far.