Media Center

May 7, 2005
Schundler: New Debt Rating Underscores Need for Spending Caps

(MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler -- responding to the release of the annual state debt rankings by Moody's Investor Services, which show New Jersey behind only California and New York in public debt held -- today issued the following statement:

"The new debt ranking by Moody's underscores the need for constitutional amendments limiting spending at the state and local level. Clearly, it's not enough to have spending caps written into law -- the legislature just passes bills overriding their own earlier caps. If spending caps aren"t written into the constitution, the politicians will just continue to spend like the money's burning a hole in their pockets.

"According to the annual survey by Moody's Investor Services, New Jersey now carries $29.7 billion in debt, which ranks us third, behind only California and New York. That works out to more than $3,400 worth of debt for every man, woman, and child in the state -- and that itself is up from about $780 per person just ten years ago. Think about that -- our state debt on a per-capita basis has more than quadrupled just in the last decade. And when compared to New York and California, we actually have a HIGHER per-capita debt -- almost 33 percent more than New York, and more than double California's per-capita debt. That's outrageous.

"As Ronald Reagan reminded us decades ago, we don"t have debt because we tax too little -- we have debt because we spend too much.

"Alone among the candidates for Governor, I have been calling for spending caps at both the state and local level to be written into the constitution. Douglas Forrester has been suggesting that "his" property tax reform plan is better than mine, in part because its spending caps are already written into law; but the problem with "his" spending caps is clear -- they ARE written into law, and yet they"ve been exceeded!

"Nothing short of amending the constitution to FORCE the politicians to keep their spending under control will work. That's why the centerpiece of my Permanent Property Tax Reduction Amendments -- and the central point of difference between my plan and other plans -- is CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED SPENDING LIMITS."

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