Byrne, Goldman and Keevey share Governor's concerns about the
irresponsibility of the past administrations
(TRENTON)-Governor James E. McGreevey met with former Governor Brendan
Byrne, former State Treasurer Cliff Goldman and former Office of
Management and Budget Director Richard Keevey to solicit their input on
the state's $2.9 billion revenue shortfall.
"Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with three individuals who know the
budget and know just how difficult it will be to put this budget in
balance," said McGreevey. "We discussed the clear, present and extremely
serious problem we are facing-a problem that was neither unexpected nor
Last week, McGreevey suggested that the state's current revenue shortfall
was "neither unexpected nor unavoidable" as he revealed a series of
documents indicating that the previous administrations knowingly ignored a
series of warnings from independent experts showing that revenue
projections for FY2002 were overly optimistic.
"The problems we face today are the result of runaway spending,
out-of-control borrowing, and a failure to act in the face of clear fiscal
warnings," said McGreevey. "These three leaders are working with us to
assess where we are and to end the irresponsible policies of the
past-policies that sacrificed our long-term stability for short term
Specifically, former Governor Byrne pointed to the reckless borrowing and
spending of the past eight years as examples of the irresponsible
governing that has left the state with the largest deficit in the nation.
Governor, you learn very quickly that you can't do all things for all
people," said Byrne. "That's not something the administrations of the past
eight years learned very well. The prior administration wanted to cut
taxes and spend more. Unfortunately, much of the new spending was phased
in at the same time that revenues were being phased out. That's a recipe
Former State Treasurer Goldman commented on how the prior administration
implemented a new tax on corporate limited partnerships without a full
understanding of how much money it would provide and how officials
deliberately ignored projections last May by the non-partisan budget
experts in the Office of Legislative Services showing a $1.5 billion
revenue shortfall-a shortfall that is now up to $2.3 billion due to their
was saying the money was not there," said Goldman. "Unfortunately, the
revised revenue projections did not deter the administration-right up to
the end-from continuing to spend at record levels," said Goldman.
former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Keevey discussed
how the budget passed last June understated the spending needs of the
state by $500 million for programs such as FamilyCare, PAAD and NJ Saver.
He also discussed how the FY2002 budget includes $500 million in one-time,
non-recurring revenues to pay for recurring programs.
"That's almost a $1 billion problem. If one thing was made clear to me
from my time directing the Office of Management and Budget, it's this: You
simply can't spend money you don't have," said Keevey. "In this regard,
the previous administration has left the state in quite a bind."
Since taking the Oath of Office, McGreevey has taken numerous actions to
address the state's fiscal situation. He instructed cabinet members to cut
operational costs in their departments and agencies by five percent and to
freeze all discretionary spending. He also met with higher education
leaders and informed them that they would need to reduce their budgets by
five percent as well.
Additionally, McGreevey established the BEST (Budget Efficiency Savings
Team) Commission, which was charged with identifying waste and
mismanagement throughout state government, finding efficiencies to
maximize services and minimize costs and recommending solutions.