Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Raids on Dedicated Funds Climb Under Christie

Gov. Chris Christie has consistently and substantially increased raids on state funds that were built with dedicated taxes and fees in order to balance the state budget, a New Jersey Spotlight analysis shows. And without the two-thirds majority needed to override a Christie veto, the Democratic-controlled Legislature is virtually powerless to block the fund raids.

Raids on Dedicated Funds Climb Under Christie

Gov. Chris Christie has consistently and substantially increased raids on state funds that were built with dedicated taxes and fees in order to balance the state budget, a New Jersey Spotlight analysis shows. And without the two-thirds majority needed to override a Christie veto, the Democratic-controlled Legislature is virtually powerless to block the fund raids.

The diversion of billions of dollars in taxes and fees earmarked by previous legislatures and governors for specific purposes into the state’s general fund is not a new practice. But Christie’s ability to ride roughshod over a Democratic-controlled Legislature shows the virtually limitless power that a governor with ironclad control of his minority caucus can exert over the budget.

Christie's most aggressive fund raids have been the diversion of more than $1 billion from ratepayer subsidies on customer utility bills charges that was supposed to go to clean energy programs. But the Republican governor also took hundreds of millions of dollars from fee-supported environmental programs, diverted toll revenue from transportation projects, and tried to grab more than $160 million in affordable housing funds.

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