Monday, November 2, 2015

NJ Watchdog: Tuesday's election won't solve state's fiscal woes

New Jersey’s statewide election on Tuesday is unlikely to break the governmental gridlock that threatens the state’s fiscal future.

On ballots, voters won’t find contests for any of the 40 seats in the Senate, where Democrats enjoy a 24 to 16 majority. Also not up for grabs is the governorship as Chris Christie hangs onto that office while pursuing the Republican presidential nomination.

Instead this odd-year election features races for the 80 spots in the Assembly, where there is a 47 to 31 Democratic advantage with two seats vacant.

In each chamber, the Democrats have enough of an edge to control all legislation, but they lack the two-thirds supermajority needed to override Christie’s vetoes without Republican help.

“I’ve vetoed 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic legislature,” boasted Christie during the September GOP debate on CNN.

As the two sides feud, the clock continues to tick toward an alarming catastrophe.

The debt for public employee pension and health benefits has reached a whopping $194.5 billion, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of State Treasury records.

Meanwhile, the results of Tuesday’s election may be akin to rearranging deck furniture on the Titanic. A few seats may switch in the Assembly, but voters won’t get a chance for a full change – Senate, Assembly and Office of the Governor – until November 2017.

By then, it may be too late. At its current rate of growth, the debt for benefits would exceed $225 billion.

The full story is online at

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