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1982 will be a penny-pinching year for most states

By Ward Morehouse IIIStaff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / January 21, 1982



New York

Two states. Two governors. Two views of the Reagan revolution in Washington.

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New York State Gov. Hugh Carey, critical of the Reagan administration's ''indiscriminate cost cutting'' and choosing not to run for a third term, leaves office early next year.

New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, who took office this week, is calling on people to ''turn to ourselves . . .,'' and not to Washington, to ''solve the problems which afflict the state.''

If nothing else, the changing of the guard in two of the nation's biggest industrial states has dramatized how little Democrat Carey and Republican Kean agree on the ''Reagan revolution.'' But as a matter of practicality, both leaders may have borrow pages from each other's political handbooks to cope with day-to-day problems.

Governor Carey notes that ''the most recent continuing resolution passed by Congress poses a loss of $1.4 billion in aid to New York State governments. In addition, federal direct-aid payments to individuals will be reduced by up to $ 500 million.''

In his address to the state Legislature Jan. 19, Governor Carey outlined what in effect is his own ''revenue enhancement'' program to help underwrite a proposed $17.8 billion budget for fiscal 1983. He called for new state fees and taxes that already are meeting with disapproval from both sides of the political aisle in Albany. For example, the governor wants to raise $300 million by increasing auto registration fees and gasoline taxes.

Months before his speech to the Legislature, Mr. Carey conceded that federal budget cuts forced him to oppose state takeover of New York City's share of medicaid expenditures.

Now, faced with what some veteran observers say will be no-holds-barred opposition to a new gas tax -- especially from upstate lawmakers whose constituents would be most heavily affected -- the governor may be forced to reduce expenditures for mass transit and various social programs even more.

Governor Carey has announced that he will not seek a third term, and in following that path he will seek ''a safe course for this state's future; to seeking a victory more enduring and more important than any personal triumph at the polls.'' Some political analysts say the governor, who has gotton the biggest headlines by attacking the Reagan administration, now may have to seek new ways of working with it to attain the more enduring ''victory'' he seeks.

Governor Kean, though committed to more state and local responsibility for meeting the difficult problems facing the state, also may be looking to Washington for a vital portion of the money needed to revitalize the state's mass transit system and to address New Jersey's mammoth toxic waste problem.

''We must turn away from a reliance on Washington and focus our energies on a renaissance in Trenton,'' he said at one point in his inaugural speech.

But following that general blueprint may mean that in seeking bipartisan support for such a renaissance he may have to embrace some of the key issues Democrats have been esposing.

Governor Kean won his election by an extremely narrow margin of 1,677 votes and must work with a State Assembly controlled by Democrats. Though, as he said in his inaugural, expects ''clashs of ideas and ideology,'' close observers contend he will have to incorporate Democratic as well as Republican ideas into his programs or they will surely have a great deal of trouble getting support in the Legislature.

This means, veteran observers say, that Kean may at times have to depart from his overall support of ''Reaganomics'' and criticize administration programs that are having a particular detrimental effect on New Jersey. On the other hand, Governor Carey, frequently given to criticizing President Reagan, may well have to soften his criticism to get more federal aid for the Empire State.