Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scoring Points!

Earlier this month, Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), Chair of the State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, scored points for fiscal responsibility and common sense by advocating the elimination of pension credit for part-time government employees. This past week, she scored a touchdown when she pledged to reject any attempts to insert “Christmas Tree items” into the budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. She also proposed the restoration of $62 million in proposed cuts in municipal aid, including $37 million in eliminated tax relief for towns with fewer than 10,000 residents.

So-called “Christmas Tree items” are typically inserted by legislators during the final phase of the budget process to provide money for pet projects of that legislator. Usually, the projects will benefit the legislator politically and will benefit supporters of the legislator financially. “Christmas Tree items” inflate our State budget by tens of millions of dollars every year, costing our taxpayers unnecessarily. Senator Buono’s pledge to reject all “Christmas Tree items” is not only welcome but should be adopted by every legislator.

Continue reading Scoring Points!

Michael M. Shapiro, founder of, is an attorney who resides in New Providence, New Jersey. He currently serves as the Editor of The Alternative Press Contact Mike at