the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Kim Guadagno the Republican candidate for governor has proposed conducting a full state audit of New Jersey’s finances or lack there of as part of her 8 point plan to right a sinking ship . Neighbors are fleeing New Jersey because of excessive taxes and the sky high cost of living, yet Trenton dose not seem to understand how dire the situation is for New Jersey families.
1)Conduct Full-Scale Audit
On day one, Kim will order a complete audit of state government finances, operations and programs to root out waste, abuse and inefficiencies in all areas of state government. Savings realized from the “Audit Trenton” initiative will be given back to the taxpayers in the form of property tax relief.
2) Support An Independently Elected Attorney General
New Jersey is one of only a handful of states that allows the governor to appoint its top law enforcement official. A Guadagno administration would support a proposal to establish an independently-elected attorney general, or commission an independent special prosector in the event the governor or lieutenant governor is under investigation. This will ensure the state’s top law enforcement agency in the state is accountable only to the people of New Jersey to root out potential corruption and abuse.
3) Use Zero-based Budgeting
The first budget proposal presented by the Guadagno administration will utilize “zero-based budgeting” techniques, forcing all state spending to be justified based upon need and cost. Kim will also nominate Cabinet officials who understand that finding savings for taxpayers ranks second only to protecting our citizens’ health, safety, and welfare.
4) Ensure Education Dollars Get To Classrooms
New Jersey taxpayers currently spend an average of $19,600 per student, but that amount varies widely district to district and a large portion never gets to the classroom. Before we can ask taxpayers to fork over another penny for schools, we must ensure that the education funding formula is fair and our tax dollars are actually being used to improve student performance. That’s why a Guadagno administration will immediately call on the State Department of Education to conduct an audit of the state’s 586 school districts to ensure we’re spending the money on improving educational outcomes for students.
4) Fix School Procurement And Construction
School district procurement rules and practices often get in the way of getting the best product at the lowest price. We must review and change these rules and develop benchmarks for districts regarding smart purchasing practices. Like collective bargaining, we should establish a uniform, statewide procurement policy and system that will allow for the leveraging of statewide bargaining power to secure the best possible price for school goods. New Jersey must also bring fairness to school construction by requiring the SDA districts to pay the same percentage on capital improvements as they do for their entire district budget.
5) Sell Surplus State Assets
A Guadagno administration would sell buildings and other assets no longer needed by the state. This would yield the two-fold benefit of producing income that could be used to reduce debt and would put these properties back on the local tax rolls to help municipalities reduce property taxes. This proposal would not affect parks, beaches or environmentally sensitive properties owned by the state.
6) Take The Politics Out Of Road Building
In New Jersey, it is no secret that it costs too much and takes too long to build roads and other infrastructure projects. Yet instead of fixing the problems, Trenton insiders created a politically-appointed panel of four to control how our transportation dollars are spent and demand everyday New Jerseyans pay more at the pump through higher gas taxes. A Guadagno administration will demand better and work to bring efficiency and common sense to road construction. This includes auditing the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), eliminating political appointees, disbanding the panel of four politically appointed bureaucrats and ensuring infrastructure projects are funded based upon need, congestion and economic impact.
7) Oppose New Long-Term Debt
New Jersey’s state debt is about twice the national average and threatens to further erode the state’s declining credit rating. As governor, Kim will close the loophole that allows New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority to take on new debt without voter approval. In fact, Kim will oppose any plan that adds additional long term debt to the state’s balance sheet without getting voter approval via a referendum.
8) Scrap Plans To Build ‘The Palace Of Versailles’
At a time when we have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, New Jersey cannot afford to turn the State House into the Palace of Versailles. Instead of spending $300 million on renovating the State House, Kim believes we should set up a charitable foundation to raise funds from private sources to make any necessary repairs to the aging building. This effort can be assisted by making charitable contributions tax deductible.