Corzine031009Gov. Jon Corzine during his budget address to the Legislature on Tuesday. (Photo by Tim Larsen)

Is there a New Jerseyan anywhere who savors the words “state budget?” In these economic times, the phrase is apt to turn even the darkest mood more dour.

Which perhaps explains why, when asked by redbankgreen for their thoughts on Gov. Jon Corzine’s plan to narrow the $7 billion budget gap, more than half the people we spoke to on the streets of downtown Red Bank Wednesday said they hadn’t tuned into or read news or analysis of the plan.

Still, we were intent on taking the temperature of the citizenry, so we asked people for their thoughts on either the Corzine plan — which would eliminate the property tax deduction for one year and dramatically cut the number of homeowners getting the annual Homestead Rebate — or the general condition of state government finances.

Their answers appear after the jump. Meantime, here’s the text of Corzine’s speech to the Legislature Tuesday, and here’s the budget in brief: Download Abbrevbudget


Of course, I’m concerned that taxes are going up when it’s a challenging time for the economy in general and for household incomes.

Dahlia Hall, Eatontown (“but I just moved out of Red Bank!”)

I think I’m in the category that should get the rebate. Yes, I want
the rebate, yes, I would still like to be able to claim the deduction. I have to talk about that with my accountant.

Marlene Lotito, Red Bank

They were just complaining about this at the school where I work. Why is he raising the taxes if he just raised the tolls? That was supposed to be his solution to the taxes.

Joanne Wilkes, Red Bank

I’m a business owner, a small business owner, and we’re getting taxed to death. I’m 50 years old, and I’m to the point where I don’t want to do it anymore, because the taxes are just so high that I think it’s unfair. It’s just not the way it should be.

Eddie Bennett, Middletown

With any quick fix, there’s always pluses and minuses. Long range, I don’t know. Short range, I’m sure a lot of people are up in arms. Sometimes short term fixes lead to long term problems.

Bill McDonald


I hope that senior citizens continue to get the rebate, because they’re paying the same property tax as everyone else but they’re on fixed income. I don’t like losing the property tax deduction, but I also know that the state is in rough shape like everyone else. I honestly don’t know that it’s made a big difference to my taxes whether I deducted it or not.

Mary Ahern, Middletown

I’m a renter, so I wouldn’t be getting the rebate. But at the same time, I understand we’re going through tough times, and whatever’s necessary to recoup our losses and repay our debts I think should be done. And if I have to pay a little extra out of pocket, then I don’t mind.

Brandon Schwartz, Asbury Park

I think the rebate’s a silly idea to begin with. Use that money to balance the budget — it doesn’t do anything to increase anyone’s standard of living. It’s a political ploy, and I could do without it.

Tim Kean, Fair Haven

I know my company is considering moving out of New Jersey because the income taxes are extremely high. It’s pushing a lot of small businesses out of state.

Nick Kasper, Long Branch

The Corzine plan is an attempt to align a budget that’s out of control a little too late in the game. The budget has gotten bigger in the past five years, and this budget is just another gimmicky government-type budget. The governor has talked about regionalization and shared services efforts, and we’ve taken a shot at it in Fair Haven. But he hasn’t had the initiatives to get it done, leaving it up to the small towns.

In fairness, I will say I appreciate the governor’s efforts in terms of properly funding charity care and the hospitals. It looks like he’s trying to help safety-net hospitals that provide care to people who can’t provide for themselves.

Councilman Chris Rinn, Fair Haven

I don’t know that we should be extracting any money via taxes out of the economy at this point. What ought to be done is we should take a machete to the state budget and do what every governor has talked about for as long as we can remember: cut and cut and cut some more — fat and waste.

Jim Malmstrom, Bricktown

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