If Coralville were a state, it would be New Jersey

Great article in the New York Times today on the $1.5 billion dollars in tax giveaways that Governor Chris Christie has passed out like baller in a strip club to various corporations in exchange for dubious promises of adding or simply maintaining jobs in New Jersey.  What make this particularly disgusting is that it is all happening while Gov. Christie is slashing state funding for important services like education and public safety.

Christie Leaning on Tax Subsidies in Hunt for Jobs by Charles V. Bagli in the New York Times, Apr. 5, 2012

Since taking office in 2010, Gov. Chris Christie has approved a record $1.57 billion in state tax breaks for dozens of New Jersey’s largest companies after they pledged to add jobs.

[…]

Mr. Christie, who has portrayed himself as a fiscal conservative, has in particular used a new program, the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program, for the subsidies. The program, which is intended to encourage development around nine cities, offers tax credits equal to 100 percent of some capital investments.

[…]

Under the program, the Christie administration has granted more than $900 million in state tax credits over 10 years to 15 companies, including Panasonic, Goya, Prudential and Campbell’s Soup. The companies have promised to add 2,364 jobs, or $387,537 in tax credits per job, over the next decade.  (Emphasis added)

You know what else you could get for $38,753/year?  A teacher.  Or a cop.  Or a firefighter.  Yet Mr. Christie is cutting state funds to education and public safety at the same time that he is passing out tax cuts like Halloween candy.

Across America, public-sector job cuts take a heavy toll by Tony Pugh for McClatchy, Apr. 4, 2012

(This is a great article looking at the effects of cutting public-sector jobs throughout the country.  I am just pulling out the New Jersey examples, but it  is well worth a read.)

When city leaders in cash-strapped Camden, N.J., laid off more than 60 firefighters just over a year ago, many felt it created a public-safety nightmare waiting to happen. The loss of nearly one-third of the city’s firefighting capacity was a calculated risk, but a necessary sacrifice in order to close a $26 million budget deficit.

More than a year later, the cracks in the city’s public safety armor are growing wider. Seven, sometimes eight fire companies are doing the work of eleven. Volunteer departments in neighboring towns routinely must provide backup. Firefighter injuries are up. So are response times. And during one “brownout week” each month, no Camden firefighter can take vacation or holiday time off.

[…]

Camden, a city of 77,000 _which also cut 168 police officers in 2011 — is the extreme example of that national trend toward leaner, cheaper and ultimately less able state and local governments in the wake of the Great Recession. The 2010 elections, which brought in a wave of conservative policymakers who believe less government is best, exacerbated the situation in many places.

Republicans generally don’t consider tax cuts/giveaways as spending, but of course the reality is that it means less money in government coffers to spend on the things that governments need to do.  Like educate children and protect people.  The fact that Christie considers himself a fiscal conservative is a disgusting joke.

 

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