Monday, June 08, 2009

Kyrillos:Corzine’s Poison Pill Hypocrisy: Says Guarantees Good for Unions, Bad for Shore Protection

Governor’s Inconsistency Comes at Taxpayer Expense

Following reports that Governor Corzine hurried an important negotiation with the largest state union to prevent an embarrassing protest during a visit by Vice-President Biden, Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-13) noted the apparent hypocrisy of the Corzine Administration’s use of a “poison pill” provision in the rushed labor agreement.

In return for the agreement of the Communications Workers of America to minor concessions on wages and furloughs, the Corzine Administration has agreed to not layoff any state employees between now and January 1, 2011. The Corzine Administration further agreed to a poison pill provision that would reverse all of the agreed upon concessions if this Governor or his successor violates Corzine’s “No Layoff” pledge.

“It reeks of hypocrisy that Governor Corzine now thinks poison pill provisions are good for protecting state worker contracts, but bad for guaranteeing shore protection funding that is vitally important to New Jersey,” said Kyrillos. “This is yet another clear demonstration of how the Governor’s actions lack consistency on important state issues.”

Previous legislatures and governors have made use of poison pill provisions to guarantee that portions of certain taxes are dedicated to providing minimum levels of funding for various priorities like shore protection and the arts. Those poison pill provisions state that if the minimum amount of required funding is not budgeted for a specified priority, then the collection of the respective tax that funds that item shall be suspended.

Governor Corzine has announced his intention to ignore those poison pill provisions this year and reduce funding for several priorities, including shore protecting, below the required minimum levels. He would not, however, suspend the collection of taxes as required by law.

During budget hearings, Treasurer David Rousseau provided insight into the Corzine Administration’s feelings about poison pill provisions: “We will be setting aside those laws. We didn't want to be bound by laws that were created that say shore protection has to be this amount. Same thing with arts. Why should they be held at a higher standard just because some Legislature in the past put a law in that says it can't go below this amount of money?”

“It’s hard to trust a Governor who puts people at risk by breaking a law that was meant to guarantee their protection,” added Kyrillos. “It’s even harder, however, to trust a Governor who then turns and uses the same type of provision that he previously ignored to guarantee state union contracts. The only thing Governor Corzine has proven to be consistent at is wasting taxpayer money.”

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