Wednesday, April 26, 2006

State Personnel Hiring Freeze

Claim: The State of New Jersey is operating under a freeze on hiring, and is reducing state personnel to save money.
Source, Budget in Brief, p. 1

Reduction of more than 1,000 staff positions with accompanying savings of $54 million through a rigorous hiring freeze, administrative efficiencies and responsible reorganization of select government functions. Limiting the filling of attrited vacancies will yield opportunities to not only control government growth
but also to do more with less by enhancing management efficiencies and streamlining services
Under Corzine's budget, the total number of people to be employed by the state in 2007 will be 1.5% higher than in 2006.

Source: Departmental budget details.

Supporting Data:
According to the budget documents submitted by the departments, state employment for 2006 stands at 84,886. 71% are paid through direct state taxes, 16% using federal funds, and 13% using "other" funds. The budget documents explain that "Other includes positions supported by fees or other dedicated resources previously reported as State Supported." [This sounds like doublespeak for a shell game, doesn't it?]
In 2007, the "state supported" headcount will drop by 1.0% (612 personnel). Those paid by federal funds will increase 4.9%, or 661 people, while the "other" category will increase by 8.5% -- 933. The net increase in state employment (and future pension liabilities, no doubt) is 1,331 more people.

Nearly every department increases its total headcount. Only three see decreases: Corrections, Personnel, and the Chief Executive. Those reductions total 164 personnel. The Public Advocate, State, and Community Affairs, on the other hand, each achieve double digit growth in their number of employees. Between them, those three departments add 220 people, more than eliminating the token reductions of other departments.

A true reduction of 1,000 staff positions would mean a state workforce reduction of approximately 1.14%. I would propose that this reduction rate be applied to every department of the government.

My (admittedly broad-brush) plan would actually reduce the number of people the state has on payroll by 1,230 people, and is more than 2,500 fewer than the governor's plan. I don't believe that this is anywhere near enough to restore fiscal sanity to our state, but it is a step in the correct direction.

I don't like to hurl accusations of lying, but the governor's statement above reeks of untruth. This budget contains massive spending increases, unsupportable personnel increases, and blatant lies about the nature of the changes. As has been said before, a reduction in the desired rate of growth does not constitute a spending cut, and a plan which ADDS 1,331 people to the payroll cannot be reconciled with a claim of a "reduction of more than 1,000 staff positions."

It was a grave mistake for the people of New Jersey to place Jon Corzine in Drumthwacket.

Tags: New Jersey, Taxes, Budget