NJ budget more pain than gain

March 10, 2009 9:06:58 AM PDT
Gov. Jon S. Corzine is preparing a proposed budget that includes pain and no gain. The plan Corzine will present Tuesday reduces spending to 2006 levels.

It includes higher taxes on liquor and cigarettes, smaller property tax rebate checks and a wage freeze for state workers.

The $29 billion proposal comes amid rising unemployment, mounting state debt and shrinking revenues. New Jersey's Constitution requires the governor to maintain a balanced budget.

Corzine is expected to call on 80,000 state workers to give up the 3.5 percent negotiated pay raise due July 1.

State officials familiar with the proposal say the public worker unions would forgo the raise if the governor drops a plan to furlough workers for 12 days.

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