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Fiscal cliff is avoidable with better planning and accountability, Assemblywoman Dunn says

NEW JERSEY – Assemblywoman Aura Dunn says Trenton’s kicking-the-can-down-the-road attitude by creating and leaving problems for the next guy is no way to govern.

Dunn is fighting to bring more transparency and accountability to the legislative process.

“Politicians come and go. The guy is always the New Jersey taxpayer,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. “It’s our constituents who pay for politicians’ short sightedness.”

And the can in this instance is New Jersey’s looming budget crisis, averted for several years as the state found itself awash in federal pandemic relief funds and higher-than-expected revenues. But all that is gone, and as Dunn remarked during last May’s budget process, the picture isn’t rosy.

A recent forecasting report instead paints a bleak picture in three scenarios, titled “New Jersey’s Fiscal Cliff.”

state will likely face a $16.5 billion deficit over the next five years, but under the most pessimistic circumstances, may balloon up to $25 billion in shortfalls. The report suggests the state should anticipate revenue shortfalls of more than $1 billion this year. The state’s $8 billion surplus will likely be wiped out over the next few budget cycles.

“I asked state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio during budget hearings last May why with expected declines in revenue the state wasn’t curtailing spending, to which she replied the state had healthy surpluses to absorb that loss,” Dunn said. “This administration likes to play semantics. They believe New Jersey taxpayers aren’t overtaxed because the law—in other words, the budget Democrats pass every year—allows them to tax us at the exorbitant rates they do.”

Last year’s budget broke records at $54.3 billion with $1.5 billion in eleventh-hour pork added. Dunn has a three-point plan that that would first require any changes to the governor’s proposed budget be posted by June 1, a full 30 days before the budget must be adopted or force a government shutdown.

The assemblywoman wants to see the state move to multi-year and consensus forecasting, which she believes would better position the state to weather revenue downturns and unexpected costs. Her plan bans earmarks.

“The governor and Legislature would have to look down the road and be accountable now for not just this budget cycle, not just this election’s buzz words and brownie points, but for the future financial health of the state,” Dunn said. “We don’t have to teeter on the fiscal cliff if we plan another path in advance.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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