Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I suppose I should be extremely thankful that Governor Jon Corzine’s Administration is serious about transparency. Were it not for this openness, I would have a very difficult time getting the information necessary to file reports that actually help citizens understand what’s happening in Trenton and how the goings-on might impact them.

For months, the Governor has been telling the State House press corps and anyone else who will listen, that his financial restructuring plan (the scheme formerly known as monetization) would help right the State’s fiscal ship. In the spring, Corzine said to me on two separate occasions that the plan would be unveiled in about two weeks. We still have not been told any of the details. The administration went to court and successfully argued that it should not have to make public an $800,000 monetization study even though taxpayers shelled out the cash for it. The judge agreed the study is not a final report, it is a draft final.

Last month, Assembly Transportation Committee chairman John Wisniewski suggested that doubling the State's 14.5 cent gas tax would generate enough money to meet New Jersey's transportation project needs without having to raise tolls. Wisniewski has never officially proposed a gas tax increase, but in response to the Assemblyman's statement, DOT commissioner Kris Kolluri said the state motor fuels tax would have to be increased by 44 cents to 58.5 cents to accommodate all of New Jersey's current and future transportation needs.

"Commissioner Kolluri's assertion that it would take a 44-cent increase in the gas tax to address the state's current and future transportation needs is revealing," said Wisniewski at the time. He added, "If administration officials know the minimum amount the motor fuels tax would need to be increased, then they also must know the minimum amount tolls must increase to meet the same goals." Neither Corzine nor Kolluri would admit to knowing that, "minimum amount."

Forced to use Kolluri’s statement, other comments from Corzine at various events and figures from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s 2006 annual report, Millennium Radio News was able to do a financial analysis of a gas tax hike v. toll increases. Check our website at http://www.nj1015.com/ and you can read the painstakingly tedious mathematical breakdown.

Even in this era of the Open Public Records Act, reporters and the public simply cannot get information that the government doesn’t want us to have. The most basic tenet in journalism is that a journalist should be free of any motivation other than the public’s right to know. I strongly believe the public has a right to know everything the Governor knows about his plan. That’s not happening.

I’ll finish with a math question…..
Q: If a train leaves Trenton and heads north at 40mph at the same time a train leaves Newark and heads south on the same track at 45mph, how long will it take before they crash head-on?
A: Who cares? I’m beginning to think I might want to be standing on the track when it happens.


keymanjim said...

We're already on the tracks, we just now realizing it.
Without our knowledge or (conscious) consent, corzine has performed a hostile takeover of our state. He is now gutting it and will sell the pieces to the highest bidder. When all is said and done, he’ll just walk away leaving all of us with the bill and no way of paying it.
Is it possible to sue a politician for malpractice?

KalNJ said...

We are so screwed.
People keep thinking that it's hiking the tolls OR raising the gas tax OR raising property taxes.

Guess what?
It's not "OR" - it's "AND"!!!

Anonymous said...

How about reducing the staff at the turnpike authority. Especially upper management. How can they justify more executives now then when the GardenState authority was seperate?

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Anonymous said...

Consider the last 15 years of spending- Corzine himself said abuse, fraud and mispending in the State.
I don't believe that he has the gumption to do anything and then he does not know even about "cutting the budget". You have to know something about the "mechanics" of the State. Every Governor in the
The hiring and promotion process has been so "de Civilized" that it borders on "polictical Nepotism". This in itself creates corruption from the top where politically expedient decisions are made politician types(sometimes by elected figures who also work in State jobs). The positions at the top are the best paying jobs- $70,000 and above. Once they are made permanent in their civil Service jobs you can't get rid of them. Prior to this "piling on", the politicos used to go with the Governor when his term was up.
All you have to do is go through the payroll for each Dept and you will see all kind of "Analysts". These are the jobs they are occupying. Look at the payroll 15 years ago and you will see the difference.
The other fraud on the public is the Correctional scam. The starting salary for a Guard is almost $50,000. Check the salaries in other states. Why did Texas privetize their prisons? Cost! The Guards try to make it look like they are "cops" and have negotiated themselves into salaries higher then some Engineers starting their careers. Remember Reagen and the Contollers' union. That is the same approach that has to be taken with this group. By the way, most of the work force in this group who go from flipping hamburgers and laboring work to almost $50,000 as guards!!
The politicians don't want to make any decisions except for those that will continue the bankruptcy of the State treasury. And who will say or do anything in our interest???

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