- Institutions Matter: Can New Jersey Reverse Course? - https://newjersey.mercatus.org -

Governors Revolt!

What’s gotten in to the governors? Across the country, a number of them seem to be fed up with their respective budget crises and are proposing bold action. As Eileen has written [1] in the New York Post, New Jersey’s Governor Christie has shown remarkable resolve in tackling “the third rail of New Jersey’s budget: union-negotiated contracts and control.”

On Tuesday, I wrote [2] about New York’s Governor Paterson and his plans to lay-off nearly 10,000 government workers (effective upon his successor’s first day in office). Now the Governor has gone a step further, announcing [3] that he is “taking over” the budget cuts in order to keep the state afloat. After weeks of fruitless negotiations with state lawmakers, the state budget is more than 2 months overdue and there seems to be no consensus about how to deal with the $9.2 billion gap. So Paterson plans to impose dramatic cuts by including them in an emergency spending plan.

A little further west, in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn and the state legislature are wrestling with a yawning $13 billion gap. Yesterday, the governor declared his intention [4] to make the tough cuts that legislators seem unwilling to make. Of course, when pressed for details, he declined to offer a substantive plan. Hopefully, he’ll come around.

Hopefully, all of the governors will come around. A new report by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) will be released this morning. According to the Wall Street Journal [5](gated), it shows that states across the country still face a $127 billion gap over the next two years.