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August 16, 2018

Quotes from our Members

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL POLICY GROUP MEMBERS

The Workgroup members speak to the need for reforms and the importance of the recommendations.

“The recommendations presented today represent seven months of bipartisan work by some of the brightest policy people in New Jersey,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). “It should rightfully kick off a rational, fact-based and non-rhetorical debate with the general public on the proper blueprint for a better, more efficient and affordable New Jersey. I look forward to that discussion because we can no longer ignore the systemic problems that are crippling our state’s future.”

“As the Senate Republican Budget Officer, I’ve spent the past decade trying to mitigate the impact of the growing cost of State and local government on our ability to provide affordable services to New Jersey taxpayers,” said Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25). “Absent reforms that lower the cost of government significantly, we’ll face the unpalatable choice of accepting higher taxes or cutting important programs that serve as a lifeline for many New Jerseyans. While it’s unlikely that everyone will agree with every recommendation of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Group, I believe the report represents a good starting point for a public debate on these important issues.”

“I commend Senate President Sweeney for bringing together the task force that has compelled discussions on the affordability issues that plague the state,” said Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R-8). “I look forward to the ensuing dialogue and public debate that will be had in order to bring the state’s expenses down and provide relief to our overburdened taxpayers.”

“These recommendations create a path to make New Jersey fiscally responsible,” said former Senator Lesniak. “The fiscal crises facing the state requires a full court press to move forward on the recommendations which will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.”

“All of us approached this task with no set conclusions as to where we end up. We were charged with looking at systemic inefficiencies in many areas of government, to identify problems and then offer recommendations. There is still much work to be done.” Richard Keevey, Chair of the Pension and Benefit Reform Subcommittee, Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy & Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

“The Leveraging Asset to Stabilize the Pension System Subcommittee has been exploring the concept of Asset Transfer to help the State address the significant challenges it faces. Asset Transfer to the Public Pension System could be a way for the State to realize the untapped value of its asset while simultaneously providing budgetary relief, improving Pension System funding levels and freeing resources for other State priorities – in particular, much needed investments for transportation infrastructure.” Frank Chin, Chair of the Leveraging Assets to Stabilize Pension System Subcommittee, Managing Director American Public Infrastructure.

“It appears that real property tax reform — reform that will truly reduce municipal property tax rates–can only occur if local governments agree to receive state revenues in lieu of revenues that they currently control themselves. Simplifying the sales tax code could help enable any property tax reform.” Michael L. Lahr, Chair of the State and Local Tax Policy subcommittee, Research Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy.

“The work of the (County and Municipal Government/Shared Services) Subcommittee highlighted the challenges and complexities of finding quick fixes to stabilize or reduce local property taxes. Our recommendations focus on activities to examine what and why we do certain services and find ways to do them better and cheaper. Shared services also have and continue to provide opportunities to rational service delivery and reduce costs, and deserve ongoing support and attention. Other recommendations provide the potential to control cost and encourage local action to act accordingly.” Marc Pfeiffer, Chair of the County and Municipal Government Reform Subcommittee, Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy.

“This process recognizes that no “few” recommendations will solve our problems “in the short term” – we need many, strategically coordinated proposals over the long term to reestablish our fiscal integrity.” Dr. Ray Caprio, Chair of the Education Reform at the Administrative Level Subcommittee, Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy.

“The state’s current systems are not sustainable and the time has come to take bold steps to address decades of “kicking the can” down the road. The education reform recommendations of the workgroup represent education policy reforms that will create efficiencies yielding educations benefits for the state’s children along with fiscal savings for tax payers.” Lucille Davy, Member of the Education Reform at the Administrative Level Subcommittee Of Counsel, Mason, Griffin, & Pierson, Former New Jersey Commissioner of Education.

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