Prior to the pandemic in mid-March, NAIOP NJ had planned to convene several experts to examine New Jersey’s fiscal challenges, controlling costs at the local level and pension and benefits reform. In the subsequent four months, our national GDP has plunged 33 percent and New Jersey’s unemployment rate is a startling 16.6 percent, as budgeted state and local revenues are hemorrhaging. COVID-19 has made matters far worse and the budgetary pains and economic slowdown will be significant and sustained under any scenario. Our state and local elected officials must now make difficult decisions that do not jeopardize our future.
To help us better understand these issues, I consulted with noted fiscal expert Richard Keevey, former budget director and comptroller for New Jersey under two governors, and Mark Pfeiffer, senior policy fellow and assistant director with the Bloustein Center for Local Government Research at Rutgers University. Both have extensive experience with public policy and fiscal issues at the local, state and national levels.