Municipalities will get less state aid than in the past

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:52

    TRENTON — In the bluntest terms he has used so far to convey next year’s doomsday budget proposal, Gov. Jon S. Corzine last week told dozens of municipal mayors to expect less aid from the state — though he failed to say how much the aid pool would shrink. Corzine told the mayors and other municipal leaders he would be hard-pressed to sustain aid to towns, schools and perhaps hospitals and higher education for the fiscal year that starts July 1. However, how much aid will be on the chopping block remains guesswork. That won’t be known until the state determines the amount of tax revenue lost due to the recession and how much of the federal stimulus package the states can expect. Corzine is scheduled to introduce the fiscal 2010 budget on March 10. “Somehow or another, the high probability is we’re going to have to come up with absolute cuts that are probably at least the size of what we actually did this year in absolute budget cuts, if not larger.” The administration has cut $1.4 billion in this fiscal year as tax collections have fallen off. Corzine renewed his call to the legislature to approve his proposal allowing towns and counties to defer a contribution to the state worker pension fund due in April, which would save them $540 million this year. The move is meant to stave off huge property tax increases, but it has received mixed reviews since Corzine proposed it in November. The proposal was pulled from the Senate agenda last month after it became clear it didn’t have enough votes to pass. The Senate’s expected to take it up again before the Assembly considers the bill.