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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Christie's Flaw: How To Get Real Budget Reform

New Jersey is largely up in arms (others celebrate) because of the substantial budget cuts proposed by new New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this past week.
I predict these reforms will largely FAIL.   Not because of the intent.  It's because of the one tragic flaw.  New Jersey's budget problems are largely caused by years of waste, greed, mismanagement, incompetence and sloth under the failed stewardship of men and women of both parties.  The people responsible for this generational, institutionalized waste remain in place to implement Christie's policies at the local and county level (and in some places, at the state level).  These people will assuredly keep their own benefits in place, and pass along the impact of any cuts to other people, real service providers and rank-and-file, younger and lower-paid workers.
Christie has done nothing to remove the people responsible for the mess. The budget cuts do nothing to change the source of the problem: The lack of commitment of the real "spenders," the real "deciders," to change their ways. Without that change, it will be business as usual in New Jersey, and Christie will fail to achieve either meaningful reform or real tax relief for homeowners and businesses. 
This failure will be a cautionary tale for states and localities across the country.  Waste is not unique to New Jersey.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategic consultant who represents and advises businesses, individuals, nonprofits and political organizations on sensitive legal, policy and crisis management matters. 

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