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Mayor welcomes the Governor

Office of the Mayor announces:

Mayor Zimmer Welcomes Governor Christie to Hoboken For Town Hall Meeting
“Nothing partisan” about fiscal responsibility

HOBOKEN, NJ — Mayor Dawn Zimmer welcomed Governor Chris Christie to Hoboken Monday morning for his first town hall meeting to discuss a set of proposals to control property taxes in New Jersey. 

Speaking before 125 residents at the Hoboken Catholic Academy, Mayor Zimmer outlined Hoboken’s fiscally questionable past and drew parallels between New Jersey’s and Hoboken’s fiscal troubles: 

“We have followed the same fiscally shortsighted practices that administrations of both parties have followed at the state level. We have spent more than we could afford, and plugged our deficits with one-shot gimmicks and by borrowing from our future.”

The 33-bill package proposed by Governor Christie includes a constitutional amendment to impose a 2.5% cap on increases in the property tax levy and state spending as well as a series of measures to reduce costs at the municipal, school and higher education levels.

“This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” added Zimmer. “There’s nothing partisan about being smart and responsible with the money entrusted to us by our citizens.”

Emphasizing the need for a series of tools to help Hoboken control its costs in the face of reduced state aid, Mayor Zimmer urged the New Jersey legislature to pass the municipal “toolkit” proposed by Governor Christie. Her full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.


Remarks of Mayor Dawn Zimmer – As Prepared For Delivery
Governor Christie Town Hall Meeting at Hoboken Catholic Academy
Monday, May 17, 2010
Hoboken, New Jersey

It’s appropriate that Governor Christie has chosen our town for his first town hall meeting to explain how he would like to help New Jersey’s cities live within their means.

Because the problems we have faced here in Hoboken mirror those facing the state as a whole.

And that’s no coincidence, because we have followed the same fiscally shortsighted practices that administrations of both parties have followed at the state level. 

We have spent more than we could afford and plugged our deficits with one-shot gimmicks and by borrowing from our future. 

We sold our municipal garage and used the money to pay our bills – leaving us with no money and no municipal garage.  We slid current bills into the next year’s budget because we didn’t have the money to pay them on time.  We gave away front loaded tax incentives to developers called PILOTS that helped plug each year’s budget hole, but cost us millions long-term.

We’ve been digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole for decades.

Finally – two years ago – the chickens here in Hoboken came home to roost.  Our City was placed under State Fiscal Supervision and the municipal portion of our property taxes was raised by nearly 80%.

Let’s be clear.  This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue – there’s nothing partisan about being smart and responsible with the money entrusted to us by our citizens.  

I am a proud life-long Democrat, and Democrats and Republicans have differing philosophies on many important issues.   But fiscal responsibility should not be one of those differences – it should be where we find common ground.

This past election, both Governor Christie and Governor Corzine made clear that they understood that the days of kicking the can down the road had to end.  All the candidates running for Mayor in Hoboken struck the same chord as well. 

We all focused on these issues because tax relief is not a luxury for our citizens, it is a necessity.  For many of the residents I talk to, this is about whether they can continue to live in the town they love.

It’s about being able to pay the bills when a spouse unexpectedly loses their job.

This is about real people’s lives, and they don’t care whether we have a D or an R after our names as long as we are working to make their lives better.

We need to protect the quality of life in our communities and make sure that those who devote their lives to public service are fairly compensated.  

We must never forget that our Police and Firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe.  

That our under-appreciated teachers help us manage the greatest investment we can make in our future.

That while many of us are still in bed sleeping, city workers are out picking up our trash to keep our city clean.

And that the job of filling our potholes will never end.

Difficult times require difficult choices, and we need the tools to make sure that these choices are made fairly.  

Governor Christie and our State Legislature are still in the process of finalizing our State Budget, and doing so will require compromise on both sides.    

But one thing is certain.  The State of New Jersey cannot afford to provide as much aid to municipalities as it has in the past – we will have to learn how to do more with less.

Sacrifice must be shared fairly – no group must be asked to carry the burden of our past mistakes and our challenging future on their own.  

Municipalities like Hoboken need the toolkit proposed by the governor to ensure that no group – taxpayers or city workers – bears more than its fair share – and I urge our state legislators to move forward as quickly as possible on the Governor’s proposals.

I’d like to thank the Governor for making Hoboken the first stop in his state-wide tour to explain these important proposals directly to the people of the State of New Jersey, because it is so incredibly important that the people fully understand the issues, get the opportunity to evaluate them in a non-partisan way, and then let their elected representatives know how they feel.

And now, I’d like to introduce to you, the Governor of the great state of New Jersey, Chris Christie. 

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