The powerful chair of the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is making it a priority to try and restore a significant amount of the state aid cut out of Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s proposed budget, with a focus on cuts that would hit the state’s smaller towns the hardest.
“Small municipalities should not be forced to pay a disproportionate share of higher taxes just because they are small,” said Sen. Buono, D-Middlesex, in a statement last week. “It’s untenable to impose devastating cuts in state aid to small communities, many of which are run quite efficiently.”
Alternatives to a proposed $62 million aid cut in the governor’s budget are actively being pursued by the senator’s office, which if implemented, would mean around $37 million in aid could be restored to smaller municipalities.
The remaining $25 million would presumably be doled to the state’s other, larger towns and cities.
While legislators focus on restoring aid to small towns that generally run highly efficient governments, there have been increasing calls – especially among Republican representatives – to provide more oversight into programs that hand out massive appropriations to the state’s poorer urban areas.
Those municipalities tend to run at a much lower level of efficiency, with millions of dollars disappearing into programs and contractors that, in the end, provide little return on the large-scale investment of precious state tax dollars.
The handing out of those monies needs to come with some sort of oversight body imbued with real powers of investigation and, if necessary, prosecution of city governments that misuse resources through waste, questionable busines practices, or any of the other afflictions common in places like Trenton.