State of New Jersey
Executive Order #2

Governor James E. McGreevey

WHEREAS, the State is confronting a severe fiscal crisis caused by a pattern of profligate spending and irresponsible borrowing practices;

WHEREAS, these fiscal practices have been exacerbated by increasing statutory spending obligations and declining tax revenues;

WHEREAS, the State has heretofore failed, even in the face of mounting evidence that the State would confront tremendous and debilitating budget deficits in Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004, to implement timely remedial actions such as implementing significant budget freezes, cutting costs and ending unnecessary discretionary spending.

WHEREAS, the denial of the magnitude of the fiscal problems confronting the State and the consequent failure to take sufficient and timely corrective actions have placed the State in fiscal jeopardy, causing the leading rating agencies to downgrade New Jersey's creditworthiness;

WHEREAS, the unprecedented scope of the fiscal dilemma has impaired and will impair the ability of the State to provide necessary programs to its citizens;

WHEREAS, as Governor, I have a responsibility to ensure a balanced budget, manage the operations of State Government effectively and efficiently, and maintain necessary government programs and assistance to the public;

WHEREAS, N.J. Const. (1947), Art. VIII, §II, ¶2, requires that State government expenditures do not exceed available State revenues;

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 52:27B-31 and -26 empower the Governor to prohibit the expenditures of existing or future appropriations, and to set aside necessary reserve funds, if necessary to avoid a budget deficit and to guard against extravagance, waste or fiscal mismanagement in the administration of any State appropriations; and

WHEREAS, the looming prospect of a projected $2.4 Billion budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2003, and a projected $5 Billion budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2004 requires swift corrective action predicated on a thorough understanding of the depth and scope of the State's fiscal circumstances;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. MCGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. There is hereby created a Budget Efficiency Savings Team Commission ("BEST" Commission).

  2. The BEST Commission shall be composed of 30 members appointed by the Governor. The members of the Commission shall be selected from among individuals with substantial experience in the fields of business and finance. The chair shall be selected by the Governor, and the State Treasurer shall serve as an ex officio member of the Commission.

  3. The BEST Commission shall immediately undertake a complete comprehensive and thorough examination of all aspects of the State's spending practices to identify areas of waste, mismanagement, abuse, and unnecessary spending. It shall also develop recommendations to the Governor with respect to innovative solutions and corrective actions that may be taken. For the purposes of this Executive Order, the State shall mean and include its independent commissions, boards and authorities.

  4. The BEST Commission shall examine any area of spending or fiscal practice it deems appropriate, and its examination shall include but, not be limited to the following areas:

    1. Spending practices of the State;

    2. Borrowing and refinancing practices of the State;

    3. Employment practices of the State;

    4. An assessment of overlapping, duplicative or unnecessary programs;

    5. Existing or proposed capital projects;

    6. The potential for sales of surplus State property;

    7. An examination of whether direct State administrative obligations can be reduced or appropriately assigned to any specialized projects or programs they support;

    8. Existing or prospective lease obligations; and

  5. The BEST Commission shall report periodically to the Governor, commencing no later than February 15, 2002, and provide him with recommendations as to how to reduce or eliminate wasteful, duplicative or unnecessary spending and as to those otherwise worthwhile programs supported by appropriations that may need to be deferred in whole or in part to achieve necessary savings. Upon completion of its work, the Commission will render a final report of its findings as it deems appropriate.

  6. The BEST Commission recommendations shall further be designed to assist in the preparation of the State Budgets for Fiscal Years 2003 and later years, and to establish any factual or public policy foundation to support the issuance of any additional Executive Orders that may be required pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:27B-31 and -26 to reduce or enjoin State government spending or future expenditures, or to provide for necessary reserve funds, to ensure a balanced budget and the delivery of critical State programs and assistance.

  7. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and sent this
17th day of January
in the Year of Our Lord, Two
Thousand and Two, and of the
Independence of the United
States, the Two Hundred and

/s/James E. McGreevey

/s/ Paul A. Levinsohn
Chief Counsel to the Governor