Corzine asks public to swallow tough budget pill

Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) pushed his somber budget plan Wednesday to patrons of a Clifton diner.

"I think the best solution is for us to deal with the spending side of the equation," Corzine said to Tick Tock Diner customers. "That's why I made the proposal I did and that's why I'm going to fight to make sure we stay within our means."

On Tuesday, Corzine proposed $2.7 billion in budget cuts that include axing three state departments and cutting 3,000 jobs. The plan also includes reducing aid for colleges, hospitals and municipalities.

The part of the proposal that may be hardest for some taxpayers to swallow is the elimination of rebates for families making $150,000 or more annually.

While some criticize Corzine's plan as a way to scare taxpayers into passing toll hikes rather than face the alternative ? an accusation he denied ? others support him.

"He's between a rock and a hard place, but sometimes we don't want to listen to what's he's saying," said patron Sal Lombarde, of Nutley. "I don't know what his other choices would be," Lombarde said of the proposed budget cuts.The $33 billion 2008-2009 fiscal year spending plan, which includes the $2.7 billion in cuts, is now in the hands of the Legislature.

For Corzine?s news conference, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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