Garden State Initiative President Regina M. Egea issued the following statement in commentary on the release of the report by Senate President Steve Sweeney's New Jersey Economic & Fiscal Policy Working Group:
With a budget just enacted by these same legislators 45 days ago, and our problems getting worse by the day, what is the path forward?
What was striking in the report was a lack of a plan of action. Recommendations that do not include costs to implement and expected savings, along with a timeline of implementation, is not really a plan; but rather another committee report. Without a commitment to implement, residents and business leaders are likely to see this as just another report that will take its place on a shelf collecting dust.
It was heartening to see to the report include the recommendations on health benefits made by the Byrne-Healey Commission, albeit without mentioning their report. Unless we are willing to tackle the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, which is the unsustainable level of payment of pension benefits, which this report fails to do, things like HOT lanes, consolidation and shared services are distractions that just nibble at the edges of our financial crisis.