Corzine also expressed concerns about New Jersey'scompetitiveness vis-à-vis neighboring states, admitting that whenit comes to tax structure, "we're at a disadvantage." Add to thatchronic congestion issues and a dated infrastructure and, "I couldtalk on and on about the challenges," he said.

|

His remarks came against a backdrop of a state fiscal crisis andhis own plan to generate cash from substantial toll hikes on thestate's superhighways coupled with substantial budget cuts,recently revealed. All that said, "the state has great strengths,"Corzine told NJ-Naiop attendees, "and the biggest strength islocation. We have an incredible location, great demographics andincredible advantages to build on."

|

But the state "needs financial restructuring," he said. Andwhile his proposed toll hikes have not been well received, nothingis etched in stone, including possible increases in the gasolinetax. He admitted that the latter "is not my favorite choice." Hisfinancial restructuring plan comes down to three points: keepingthe state budget at the $32.5-billion level, limiting spending inthe future, and limiting state debt, currently in the $115-billionrange.

|

"The first step," Corzine said, "is that I ask for your help inpassing the budget I've proposed." He did admit, meanwhile, that asfar as his toll hike plan, as proposed, "it's fair to say that Idon't have the 21 [votes in the State Senate] and 41 votes [in theAssembly] for the plan as it currently exists.

|

Ultimately, "economic growth is the way we get out of thissituation," Corzine said. Pointing to new state incentives such asthe new $75-milliontransit hub bill, "which I would like to see extended to theports," as well as "lots of things happening in Newark, AtlanticCity and on the waterfront, we will be in a good position when theeconomy turns.

|

"Lots of things are on the table that we're pushing for,"Corzine concluded. "I'm optimistic, but we have to get fiscalresponsibility into the equation."

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.