TRENTON — Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Thursday, Oct. 16 addressed a rare joint session of the state Legislature to unveil a multi-faceted plan to provide immediate assistance for Garden State residents and statewide long-term economic growth options to coax the state out of the current national economic recession.
“If ever there were a time for a comprehensive, non-partisan economic plan by New Jersey’s elected officials, it is in today’s circumstances,” Corzine stated in a release. “The unprecedented and evolving financial crisis of the past several months has already significantly weakened America’s, and the state’s, economy. It undoubtedly will bring more severe challenges in the months ahead.”
Corzine specified four areas of attack:
• Immediate assistance, including foreclosure prevention.
• Energy and food costs.
• Short-term job creation, focusing on expediting public works projects and enabling community banks to loan funds to local businesses.
• Long-term business climate changes, specifically on changes in tax policy and the cultivation of alternative energy projects, and; continued fiscal responsibility on the state level by keeping state spending in check.
“While this initiative cannot separate us from the interconnected world in which we live, it can help position New Jersey for a strong recovery,” the governor stated.
In the immediate term, his plan will involve addressing “the most critical needs of New Jersey families dealing with the current financial crisis: foreclosure prevention, energy bills, and food purchase assistance. The plan will also rapidly advance planned infrastructure projects – including the rebuilding of urban and suburban schools, expansion of the Turnpike and Parkway, and construction of a new mass transit tunnel – creating an estimated 43,600 jobs.”
In the long-term, Corzine proposes substantial changes in New Jersey’s tax policy that will make the state more inviting to small business owners and relocating businesses, while aggressively cultivating the industries of the future to better position the state for years to come in the areas like: offshore wind energy, solar energy, and projects focused on energy conservation and renewable resources.
Corzine also said that state government will continue to cut costs and reduce spending to prepare for impending reductions in revenue. Previously, he reduced state spending by almost $3 billion, reduced the overall size of government, and dedicated $650 million toward debt reduction, according to the release.
“I believe we will emerge stronger, despite the doomsday scenarios being posited right now,” Corzine said. “But it will take concerted and sustained effort of policymakers, employers, workers, family members, and neighbors. Our sense of community and our obligation to one another are of paramount importance at this time.
“The solutions to our financial crisis lie in pulling the right policy levers, but in a larger sense, they reside in our collective will, our empathy, and our commitment to real action that improves people’s lives,” he said.
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