Governor Jon S. Corzine Administration Timeline

Source: Timeline compiled from media sources including the Star-Ledger and The New York Times



January 1, 1947
Corzine is born in Wiley Station, Illinois

Corzine graduates Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Corzine marries Joanne Dougherty, with whom he would have three children: Jennifer, Josh, and Jeffrey

Corzine earns a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Chicago

Corzine accepts a job at investment bank Goldman Sachs and moves to New Jersey

Corzine is named a partner at Goldman Sachs

Corzine becomes Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs

After helping to take the firm public, Corzine leaves his position at Goldman Sachs

September 23, 1999
Corzine officially announces his intention to run for the U.S. Senate, seeking retiring Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D) seat

June 6, 2000
Corzine defeats former Governor Jim Florio by a 58-42 margin in the Democratic Senate primary

November 7, 2000
In the general election, Corzine defeats Congressman Bob Franks (R) 50-47 to become U.S. Senator from New Jersey

Corzine is one of only 23 senators to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002

Corzine is elected chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Corzine and his wife Joanne divorce following their separation the previous year

December 2, 2004
Corzine announces he will run for governor in 2005; after Acting Governor Dick Codey decides not to run, Corzine does not face significant opposition for the Democratic nomination.

November 8, 2005
Corzine defeats businessman Doug Forrester (R) by a 53-43 margin to become the 54th governor of New Jersey


November 16
The Star–Ledger reports that in a November 4 memo, David Rosen of the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services estimated that the “theoretical budget problem” for the current fiscal year for incoming Governor Corzine could reach $5.1 billion

December 1
Corzine announces he has selected adviser Tom Shea to be his chief of staff; Shea also served as Corzine’s chief of staff in the U.S. Senate

December 8
Corzine announces he will appoint Representative Robert Menendez (D) to the U.S. Senate to complete Corzine’s unexpired term

January 3, 2006
Corzine officially begins filling his Cabinet, nominating Nina Mitchell Wells as Secretary of State and naming Maj. Gen. Glenn Rieth Adjutant General

January 5
Corzine nominates assistant environmental commissioner and 19-year veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection

January 8
Corzine embarks on a three-day tour of the state to thank his supporters and the public at large

January 10
Citing the need to “do more with less,” Corzine reduces the size of the governor’s executive staff, notifying over 40 executive staff employees that they will not be needed after he takes over the governorship

January 11
Corzine nominates lawyer and former state public advocate Zulima Farmer as Attorney General

January 12
State Treasurer John McCormac announces that the state’s income tax revenues are higher than projected, reducing the expected budget shortfall, but that Corzine will still face a $3.6 billion shortfall upon taking office

January 13
Corzine nominates Bradley Abelow, a former colleague at Goldman Sachs, as State Treasurer

January 17
Corzine is inaugurated as the 54th Governor of the State of New Jersey

January 25
In a memo, Corzine instructs Cabinet members to prepare for major cuts in all state government operations budgets; the administration also institutes a hiring freeze and predicts staffing reductions of 5-10%

January 27
Corzine confirms that he will not order a special election to fill the U.S. House of Representatives vacancy created when Robert Menendez left to fill what had been Corzine’s seat in the U.S. Senate

February 1
In a break from past protocol, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D) announces that the Assembly will begin searching for budget savings and holding budget hearings before Corzine proposes a budget

John Petillo officially steps down as president of UMDNJ after months of reports of fraud and mismanagement at the school and following a severance negotiation with Corzine

February 17
Corzine formally recommends former national Medicare and Medicaid director Bruce Vladeck to serve as interim president of UMDNJ

February 24
Corzine releases a five-year transportation funding plan that retools and refunds the Transportation Trust Fund; the plan borrows money and adds debt to the fund but does not immediately raise transit fares or the gas tax

February 25
Delivering the Democratic response to President George W. Bush’s weekly radio address, Governor Corzine criticizes the sale of some American port operations to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates

March 6
At a public information session at Rutgers University, Corzine warns that the state is “on the verge of fiscal disaster” and that deep budget cuts and possibly higher taxes will be needed

March 16
Corzine signs an executive order establishing the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, a new Cabinet-level department

March 21
In his first budget address, Corzine cites a need to get New Jersey back on “a sound long-term footing” and proposes raising the sales tax, increasing taxes on specified goods, and calling for $2 billion in spending cuts and freezes, including the elimination of 1,000 state jobs; the budget does not propose raising income taxes

The budget also calls for severing the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) from the Department of Human Services and making it a Cabinet-level department on its own

March 23
Corzine signs a transportation bill that will replenish the Transportation Trust Fund consistent with his proposal of February 24

March 30
Corzine reaches an agreement with the New York Giants and New York Jets to develop a new $1 billion stadium at the Meadowlands

April 11
Corzine unveils a mass transit plan, which includes money for N.J. Transit and commuter ferries

April 17
Corzine signs the School District Fiscal Accountability Act, giving the state additional power to monitor and intervene in financially troubled school districts

In an interview with the Star-Ledger, Corzine indicates frustration with the legislature over its lack of progress on a needle exchange bill and a bill to boost stem cell research

May 2
Following a negative reaction from legislators and voters, Governor Corzine tables a proposal to test self-service gasoline in New Jersey less than a week after he had suggested it in a Statehouse press conference; he emphasizes that it was never an administration priority

May 4
State Treasurer Bradley Abelow announces that income and corporate taxes revenues are below expectations and may lead to a $500 million shortfall in the upcoming budget

May 9
The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that the state can freeze aid to Abbott school districts while the administration works on plans to overhaul the school funding formula, but gives the districts the right to appeal for more funding

May 10
State Senator Wayne Bryant (D), the chairman of the budget committee, says that the Senate will not accept the proposed hospital tax in Corzine’s budget

May 21
Corzine begins a weeklong trip to Asia to boost business ties between New Jersey and east Asia

June 6
Senate President Richard Codey (D) and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D) announce plans to hold a special legislative session in July to address property tax reform

June 9
Under the provisions of a law passed in January and signed by Governor Richard Codey (D), a 13-member commission begins to study the future of the death penalty in New Jersey; the committee’s findings and recommendations will not be binding on the legislature or Corzine

June 14
Speaking at the AFL-CIO’s annual convention, Corzine announces his nomination of acting Labor Commissioner David Socolow to fill the post permanently

June 16
Assembly leaders reportedly tell Corzine that the sales tax increase in the proposed budget is “dead,” leaving the budget in turmoil

June 19
Facing an impasse over a sales tax increase, and emphasizing that there was no alternative, Corzine orders his Cabinet to prepare for the possibility of a government shutdown

June 24
Still searching for a budget compromise, Assembly Democrats release a plan they say will avoid the need for a sales tax increase

June 27
With the budget deadline approaching, Assembly Speaker Roberts unveils a budget plan that will increase some taxes but not the sales tax; Corzine criticizes the plan and threatens a veto

July 1
The Assembly fails to pass a budget before the midnight deadline and Corzine orders a state shutdown, the first in New Jersey history

July 3
Corzine issues an executive order bringing the legislature into special session daily until a new budget is passed

July 5
Atlantic City casinos close for the first time due to the state budget impasse because the casino inspectors required by state law are State employees and not able to be paid during the shutdown

Governor Corzine appoints retired Appellate Division Judge Richard J. Williams to conduct an independent investigation into whether Attorney General Zulima Farber improperly intervened on behalf of her partner at a traffic stop

July 6
Corzine and Assembly Democrats reach a budget agreement to end the state shutdown; the budget will include the one-point increase in the sales tax, with half of the new revenue earmarked to offset property taxes

July 8
The state legislature passes a bill to expand and restructure the governing board of UMDNJ, following a scandal-ridden year that included accusations of Medicaid fraud

Both houses pass a bill to create a new Cabinet-level department, the Department of Children and Families, separating DYFS from the Department of Human Services, as proposed by Corzine in his March Budget Address

July 11
Corzine lays out his agenda for the upcoming special legislative session on property tax reform, urging legislators to take up issues such as municipal consolidation and the school funding formula

Corzine announces that, after a nationwide search, he will nominate acting Education Commissioner Lucille Davy and acting Corrections Commissioner George Hayman to the permanent positions; this completes his Cabinet, in which seven members were held over from the Codey administration

July 14
Corzine’s approval rating improves by 5 points in a Quinnipiac University poll, as voters blame the legislature for the government shutdown by a 3-1 margin

July 28
Corzine unveils an eight-point plan to cut property taxes that includes demanding municipal consolidation, capping annual property tax increases at 4%, scaling back retirement benefits for new state workers, reducing state debt, and changing the school funding formula

August 15
Attorney General Zulima Farber resigns after the special prosecutor determines she violated state ethics rules

August 24
Corzine selects Chief Counsel Stuart Rabner to be the next attorney general, drawing bipartisan praise

September 5
Over the objection of state worker unions, the State Health Benefits Commission votes (3-2) to raise doctor visit and prescription drug copays for teachers, local government workers, and retirees

September 7
Corzine releases his economic strategy plan for New Jersey, including the establishment of two public/private investment partnerships: the Edison Innovation Fund and the New Jersey Urban Fund

September 12
Corzine appoints pediatrician Dr. E. Susan Hodgson to be the state’s child advocate, after amending a law that previously required the child advocate to be an attorney

September 21
Corzine nominates Appellate Division Judge Helen Hoens to the New Jersey Supreme Court and says he will elevate Associate Justice James Zazzali to chief justice when current Chief Justice Deborah Poritz retires in October

November 7
Senator Robert Menendez (D), whom Governor Corzine appointed to the Senate in January to complete Corzine’s own term, wins re-election to a full term, defeating Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., by a 53-45 margin

November 9
Bayer Healthcare announces it will move its world headquarters to New Jersey

November 15
Corzine and Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson issue a ruling cancelling the state’s bear hunt season, previously scheduled for December 4-9

November 28
The administration eliminates 120 jobs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, bringing the number of state jobs cut since Governor Corzine took office to 1,200 for a savings of $54 billion

December 4
Corzine nominates New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia for reappointment to the state Supreme Court giving her lifetime tenure if approved by the legislature

December 11
The State Senate and Assembly pass needle exchange bill strongly backed by Corzine

Approximately 7,000 public workers rally at the State House in Trenton to demand that their benefits not be cut in a plan to reduce property taxes

December 12
Corzine says he will likely not sign a 20% property tax cut favored by the legislature unless the legislature first adopts other reforms such the creation of a state comptroller’s office and a 4% cap on future property tax increases

December 18
Corzine announces that the state will provide $10 million in state funds for embryonic stem cell research and that he will sign a bill providing $270 million for a stem cell institute

December 19
Corzine signs a bill amending the state’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people

December 21
Governor Corzine signs bill allowing gay couples in New Jersey to form “civil unions”


January 2
The Death Penalty Study Commission issues a 127-page report recommending that the death penalty be abolished in New Jersey; Corzine quickly endorses the recommendation

January 9
Corzine delivers his first State of the State Address, emphasizing that “the time to act on property tax relief and reform is now”

January 17
Corzine cancels an overseas trip to Israel and the World Economic Forum in Switzerland as a tax reform package appears near its final legislative stages

January 23
New Jersey Transit Executive Director George Warrington proposes a 10% fare increase to close a $60 million dollar budget gap

January 25
A state appeals court throws out the state’s formula for determining the amount of affordable housing that must be provided by suburban and rural towns and gives the Corzine administration six months to create a new plan

The State Senate passes a bill that would establish a State Comptroller’s office, a key part of Corzine’s tax reform plan; the Senate also passes a pension reform bill, under which future elected officials and political appointees would no longer be enrolled in the state’s retirement system

January 29
The Assembly passes the State Comptroller bill, sending it to Corzine for his signature.

The Assembly also passes a $2 billion program of property tax credits, a bill that will now go to the State Senate for consideration. The bill places a 4% cap on the growth of government tax collections each year, but includes significant exemptions and potential waivers to the cap

February 1
Acting Commissioner of Human Services Clarke Bruno resigns after the Senate refuses to vote on his confirmation; Corzine nominates Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Velez to replace him. Velez is unanimously confirmed as commissioner on June 21, 2007

February 6
With Corzine’s encouragement, the State Senate passes the $2 billion property tax credit bill previously passed by the Assembly; Corzine says he will review it carefully, but expects to sign it. The program will provide an income tax credit for up to 20% of a taxpayer’s property tax bill, proportioned based on income

February 13
Corzine signs an executive order requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to draft a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050

February 21
The state reaches agreement on a new four-year contract with state workers’ unions. The agreement provides 3% wage increases in the first two years and 3.5% increases in the following two. In return, state employees make concessions on health care and pensions, including paying 1.5% of their annual salary for health care for the first time

February 22
Corzine delivers his annual budget address, proposing a $33 billion state budget that includes no new taxes, but urges the legislature to restructure the state’s debt burden, in part by possibly selling or “monetizing” state assets such as the lottery and toll roads

February 26
A federal court monitor’s report indicates that New Jersey’s child welfare system is better managed and staffed than ever before, indicating that reforms within the system–including moving DYFS into a newly-formed Department of Children and Families–are working

The Assembly Transportation Committee, led by Chairman John Wisniewski (D), holds hearings on legislation that would block any deal to sell or lease the Turnpike

March 1
The annual accounting of the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund shows that it has only 78% of the amount it is estimated to need to cover retirement benefits promised to its retired and active members

March 2
At a public event, Corzine says he will not sign a budget that includes “Christmas tree items,” last-second additions to the budget that often go towards legislators’ pet projects

March 15
Corzine officially signs bill creating an Office of the State Comptroller; he does not yet sign the property tax credit bill

March 22
Corzine appoints Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri to chair the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority; Kolluri will also remain Transportation Commissioner

March 27
During a call-in show on News 12 New Jersey, Corzine says he will not sell the New Jersey Turnpike, but does not rule out leasing the road “under a very controlled basis”

March 28
UMDNJ elects a new president, former chancellor of the Health Science Center at the University of Tennessee William F. Owen Jr.

April 2
At a rally in Elizabeth, Corzine endorses his former colleague Senator Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

A search committee appointed by Corzine selects Richard R. Sarles, the current assistant executive director for capital programs and planning, as the new Executive Director of New Jersey Transit, replacing the departing George Warrington

April 3
In a public ceremony, Corzine officially signs the $2.2 billion property tax relief plan

April 5
Corzine asks the state’s Ethics Advisory Panel to review his financial ties to union leader Carla Katz

April 12
Corzine suffers multiple serious injuries, including a broken leg, collarbone, backbone, and ribs, when the State Police-driven SUV transporting him to Drumthwacket is involved in an accident on the Garden State Parkway. Corzine is airlifted from the scene, spends two hours in surgery, and is transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. His injuries are eventually described as “not life-threatening,” but he is expected to need more surgery and 3-6 months of intensive physical rehabilitation. Senate President Richard Codey (D) becomes acting governor while Corzine is incapacitated

April 13
In a press conference, Codey assures the state that “business will continue as usual” until Corzine is able to take back control of the government

April 23
Corzine is transferred out of intensive care, but doctors indicate he will need to remain hospitalized for at least another week; Chief of Staff Tom Shea announces that Corzine will not resume his duties as governor while hospitalized

April 25
Corzine takes his first steps since the accident with the help of a walker

April 26
Corzine poses for photographers in his hospital room and speaks publicly for the first time since his accident, saying he is “the most blessed person who ever lived”

April 30
Corzine is discharged from the hospital and moved to Drumthwacket, but does not yet resume his official duties as governor

May 1
State police investigators interview Corzine about the accident; Corzine demands they issue him a ticket for failing to wear his seat belt

May 7
At a press conference at Drumthwacket, Corzine announces that he is officially taking back control of the governorship

May 8
The Ethics Advisory Panel clears Corzine, saying that his personal and financial relationship with union leader Carla Katz did not compromise state worker contract negotiations

May 10
A bill that would outlaw capital punishment in New Jersey advances through the State Senate Judiciary Committee

May 15
Corzine films a television ad in which he admits he made a mistake in failing to wear his seat belt and encourages drivers and passengers to always buckle up

June 4
Corzine announces that he will nominate Attorney General Stuart Rabner to be Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, succeeding the retiring James Zazzali; Corzine also announces that Anne Milgram, currently the first assistant attorney general, will take over for Rabner as Attorney General

June 12
State Treasurer Bradley Abelow announces that the Corzine administration and the legislature have reached an agreement on the general framework for a state budget

June 13
Speaking at the AFL-CIO’s annual convention, Corzine says he wants the state legislature to deliver a paid family leave bill by the end of the month

June 18
The Corzine administration agrees to repeal a provision in the state workers contract that would have required retired public employees to pay a share of their health insurance costs

June 21
According to a Star-Ledger report, Corzine decides to put plans to sell the New Jersey Turnpike and other toll roads to a public corporation on hold, until at least after the November election

With strong encouragement from Corzine, the Senate passes a bill banning future dual office-holding; the Assembly had already passed the bill

Voting along party lines, the Assembly and Senate pass a state budget

June 28
Corzine signs the $33.5 billion state budget after using the line item veto to eliminate $10 million in spending; the budget does not raise state taxes, for the first time in six years

June 29
Stuart Rabner is sworn in as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court

July 26
Corzine signs legislation that will place on the November ballot a referendum that would allow the state to borrow $450 million for stem cell research grants

July 31
Corzine signs legislation to put a question on the November ballot that would authorize borrowing $200 million to continue open space conservation after 2008

August 6
With federal immigration reform failing, Corzine creates an advisory panel to examine ways state governments can handle immigration issues

August 7
Corzine announces that Chief of Staff Tom Shea is resigning to return to the private sector and will be replaced by current State Treasurer Bradley Abelow

August 9
Corzine hosts a town hall meeting in South Orange, the first town hall he has participated in since his car accident in April

September 4
Corzine signs four ethics bills into law, including the one that bans holding two elected offices at the same time

September 10
At Corzine’s urging, Assemblymen Mims Hackett Jr. (D) and Alfred Steele (D) resign after being arrested on federal corruption charges; the arrests were part of a broader corruption sting operation led by U.S. Attorney Chris Christie

September 17
Corzine has follow-up surgery to remove excess bone growth in the leg he injured in the April car accident

September 21
Corzine nominates State Senator Joseph Doria (D) as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs

October 2
The Department of Transportation releases a report estimating that it would cost $13.6 billion over the next decade to bring New Jersey’s bridges up to standard

October 12
Acting Treasurer Michellene Davis says Corzine has ordered Cabinet members to create plans to cut $3 billion from the next fiscal year’s budget

October 29
Corzine attends international meetings on climate change in Lisbon, Portugal and forms, along with New York, California, and several European countries and Canadian provinces, the International Carbon Action Partnership

October 31
Corzine gives his support to a proposal to raise tolls at the Hudson River crossings, if the additional money is used for security

Corzine signs a law requiring hospitals to report statistics on hospital-acquired infections

November 2
Corzine signs a law that makes texting or talking on a hand-held telephone while driving a primary offense; New Jersey is the fourth state to enact such a law

November 6
On Election Day, Democrats gain one seat in the State Senate and lose two in the Assembly, maintaining their majorities in both houses. Their majority in the new State Senate will be 23-17 and in the Assembly 48-32

A ballot measure supported by Corzine that would have allowed a $450 million bond issue for stem cell research fails, as does a proposal that would dedicate a portion of the sales tax to provide property tax relief (a proposal Corzine opposed). A ballot question proposing $200 million for open space preservation passes

November 8
Corzine nominates former federal prosecutor and current director of the Governor’s Authorities Unit Matthew Boxer to serve as the state’s first comptroller

November 16
Acting State Treasurer Michelline Davis announces that tax collections are running $300 million ahead of projections for the fiscal year’s first quarter

November 17
A Star-Ledger study finds that property taxes in the state rose an average of 5.5% for the year–the smallest increase in six years, but higher than the 4% goal previously set by Corzine

November 21
After briefing Corzine, the Highlands Council releases a draft of a new regional master plan; Corzine provides his support

November 23
State employees report to work on the day after Thanksgiving after Corzine ends a decades-old tradition of granting the day as an extra day off

November 28
Plans to expand the football stadium at Rutgers University are put on hold after Corzine expresses concern about loaning $30 million in state funds to the project

November 29
Corzine nominates current chief policy adviser Heather Howard to serve as commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, replacing Dr. Fred Jacobs who is returning to the private sector

November 30
In a speech to South Jersey business leaders, Corzine indicates that he will push for passage of a paid family leave bill by the end of the year

December 5
Corzine announces he will lead a private fundraising effort to replace the $30 million in public funds he previously removed from the Rutgers University stadium expansion project

December 6
Corzine travels to Iowa to campaign for Hillary Clinton as she attempts to win the Democratic nomination for President

December 12
Corzine unveils a new school funding proposal in which every school district will receive an increase of at least 2% in state aid, with more than 140 districts receiving the maximum 20% increase. It would do away with the court-ordered Abbott system and instead apportion money to districts based on enrollment, with special weight given to the number of students from low-income households

December 13
After UMDNJ trustees vote to take back control of the school, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie announces he will terminate (as of December 31) federal oversight of the institution that had been in place since December 2005

December 17
Saying “Today New Jersey is truly evolving,” Corzine signs a bill abolishing the death penalty in New Jersey; Corzine also (the night before) commutes the sentences of all eight prisoners on New Jersey’s death row to life in prison

December 27
The NJEA announces that it will back Corzine’s school funding plan


January 4
Corzine travels to Las Vegas to campaign for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Presidential primary

January 7
Corzine’s plan to overhaul the state’s school funding formula receives just enough votes in the Senate and Assembly to pass both houses on the final day of the “lame duck” session

January 8
Corzine delivers his second State of the State address, detailing the state’s fiscal crisis and a plan to “restructure” the state’s finances. The plan would freeze the state budget at $33.5 billion, require all newly-proposed programs to have dedicated and identifiable sources of funding, and promote a constitutional amendment that would require voters to approve most future state borrowing. Most controversially, the plan would significantly increase tolls on key state highways over time and “monetize” the proceeds by borrowing against future toll revenues

January 9
Corzine announces he has hired Republican former Congressman–and Corzine’s opponent in his successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign–Bob Franks to lead a public relations campaign in support of his proposed financial restructuring plan

A state appeals court gives the Corzine administration a six-month extension to formulate an affordable housing plan

January 10
Corzine embarks on a statewide tour of town halls, diners, and media appearances in support of his financial restructuring plan. He indicates in an interview that he will include commuter discounts in the toll hike plan, but cautions that there is not much room for negotiation in the overall toll amounts as the sizable increases are necessary to create enough revenue to solve the budgetary problem

January 11
Corzine nominates current Deputy Treasurer David Rousseau as State Treasurer, replacing Acting State Treasurer Michellene Davis, who will become a special senior counsel to the Governor

January 12
Corzine holds his first town hall in support of the fiscal restructuring plan in front of 900 people at Livingston High School in Essex County

January 13
Corzine officially signs a new school funding plan into law; the State Supreme Court will consider the plan to determine whether it meets the constitutional “thorough and efficient” education standard

January 23
The Corzine administration announces it will seek an extra $2.5 billion in bond funds to restart the state’s school construction program in troubled districts

January 24
Kevin Ryan, the first commissioner of the newly-formed Department of Children and Families, announces his resignation after two years in the job to head Covenant House International

January 29
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce endorses Corzine’s financial restructuring/”monetization” plan as the state’s “best option”

February 5
Corzine-backed Sen. Hillary Clinton wins the New Jersey Democratic presidential primary; Sen. John McCain wins the Republican primary

February 8
New Jersey radio station 101.5 FM sponsors a rally at the State House in opposition to Corzine’s financial restructuring plan, particularly targeting the toll hikes; approximately 700 people attend

February 21
In an interview with the Star-Ledger, Corzine acknowledges that he does not have the votes to pass his financial plan in its current form but does not concede that it is dead; he says he will review an alternative plan submitted by Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski (D)

February 24
Corzine joins with a bipartisan group of governors from several states in a group called Building America’s Future to push for sizable long-term federal investments in the nation’s infrastructure

February 26
In his annual budget address, Corzine unveils a $33 billion budget, $500 million less than the budget from the previous year. The budget slashes spending across the board, with every department facing cuts. It does not raise taxes, but would limit property tax rebates, cut aid to municipalities and hospital assistance, eliminate 3,000 state jobs, and disband the Departments of Agriculture, Personnel, and Commerce. Corzine calls the budget “cold turkey therapy for our troubled spending addiction”

March 6
Over 400 officials from small towns in New Jersey come to Trenton to voice concern over cuts in state aid to municipalities included in Corzine’s budget plan. In a video to the group, Corzine acknowledges that the cuts are difficult, but pushes for sharing services, eliminating overlapping tasks, and renegotiating contracts as ways to deal with the cuts

March 27
In a public appearance in Lambertville, Corzine suggests that cuts to municipal aid could be phased in, but that that would make further cuts necessary elsewhere in the budget

April 1
Corzine proposes an emergency $260 million be placed into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to avoid triggering an automatic $350 million tax hike for employers; the proposal requires legislative approval

April 16
Corzine acknowledges to reporters that abolishing the Department of Agriculture may be too politically unpopular to be possible and that the administration may have to look for budget-cutting alternatives

April 21
State departments begin sending the administration lists of potential budget cuts to include in the state budget

April 27
In an interview with WABC-TV, Corzine states that his “monetization” plan to set up a quasi-public agency to borrow $38 billion backed by significant toll increases is “politically dead” in its original form, but that he is working on an amended plan; State Senator Ray Lesniak (D) says a new plan would likely focus primarily on funding transportation projects and not on restructuring the state’s finances

April 29
Corzine tells reporters he is considering scaled-down toll hikes and a higher gasoline tax to provide transportation funding, but that he has not made any decisions

May 2
Corzine signs family leave insurance bill that provides up to 6 weeks of partial wage replacement benefits to employees when they take time off work to care for a new child or a sick parent, child, or spouse; New Jersey becomes the second state in the nation to put such a program in place

May 13
Corzine says that state revenues for the current fiscal year were higher than projected; he proposes to use the money to reduce the state’s debt load rather than restore cuts from the next fiscal year’s budget

May 21
The Corzine administration unveils a plan to encourage early retirement among state workers

June 7
Senator Hillary Clinton–backed by Corzine–ends her pursuit of the Democratic nomination for president and pledges to back Senator Barack Obama

June 10
Corzine says in a radio interview that he has every intention of running for reelection in 2009 and that he has begun preliminary fundraising

June 13
Corzine nominates Kimberly Ricketts to succeed Kevin Ryan as commissioner of the Department of Children and Families

June 16
Corzine and legislative leaders reach agreement on a $32.8 billion budget that the Governor says will include “unprecedented” spending cuts and a new debt reduction fund. The budget eliminates two state departments–Commerce and Personnel– and cuts the state payroll by 2,100 via an early retirement program, but does not eliminate the Department of Agriculture. It also reduces aid to hospitals and municipalities. It does not impose any new taxes

June 23
The State Senate and Assembly pass the budget as well as separate legislation authorizing the state to borrow $3.9 billion for school construction without state voter approval

June 30
Corzine signs the State budget and issues an executive order requiring future budgets to match spending to recurring revenues

July 8
Corzine signs a bill enacting what the administration calls the first phase of the state’s universal health care plan by mandating coverage for all children within three years and offering subsidized policies to needy parents

July 9
In a ceremony at Oliver Street School in Newark, Corzine signs the school construction bill providing $3.9 billion in state financing to repair or rebuild schools across New Jersey

July 17
The Highlands Council votes to adopt a proposed Master Plan that will govern preservation in the region; Corzine declines to immediately endorse the plan saying that he will review it carefully before deciding whether to use his power to veto the plan

July 20
Corzine travels to Israel on a trade mission

August 24
Corzine travels to Denver to attend the Democratic National Convention

August 28
In two separate interviews, Corzine says he does not intend to join the Obama administration if Obama wins the presidency and will remain as governor

September 5
Corzine approves the Highlands Plan while issuing an executive order tightening restrictions on development in areas with water shortages

The Turnpike Authority delivers a plan to Corzine that includes significant toll hikes that will cover highway widening, tunnel construction, and highway maintenance

September 14-16
Presidential candidates John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D) both declare the U.S. economy “in crisis,” as, over the course of three days, the stock market dives, brokerage firm Lehman Bros. collapses, Bank of America undertakes a negotiated buyout of failing investment firm Merrill Lynch, and insurance stalwart American International Group (AIG) is forced to take an unprecedented $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve, placing the majority share of the world’s largest insurance company under government control

September 19
President George W. Bush and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tell reporters they will work with Congress to develop a government rescue plan to save struggling banks burdened by debt, bringing some stability to the stock market

September 20
Corzine calls for an emergency economic forum to discuss the federal economic crisis and its potential impact on New Jersey

September 24
President George W. Bush addresses the nation, urging support for a $700 billion financial rescue plan that he says will stabilize banks and the market and avoid a financial panic; he also invites both presidential candidates to a White House meeting to discuss the crisis and negotiate a possible solution

September 29
Corzine signs pension reform bill that increases retirement age from 60 to 62 and raises the minimum salary for new state employees to qualify for a pension

September 30
Corzine orders the Turnpike Authority to cut “to a minimum” a list of transportation projects it wants to fund via a toll increase

October 3
After initially rejecting the financial bailout plan, the U.S. House joins the Senate in passing an amended $700 billion package to rescue U.S. banks and stabilize the economy; Bush immediately signs the legislation

In New Jersey, the Board of Public Utilities awards a grant to Garden State Offshore Energy to build the state’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Atlantic County

October 7
The Turnpike Authority presents Corzine with a new plan that would reduce the size of toll hikes and would include discounts for truckers and senior citizens

October 16
With the national economic crisis as a backdrop, Corzine gives an address to both houses of the state legislature, presenting a $150 million state economic stimulus package to protect the state against what has become a global financial crisis

October 24
Corzine announces that current Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection Lisa Jackson will become his next chief of staff effective December 1, replacing Bradley Abelow

October 31
At a ceremony in Mount Laurel, Corzine signs the new affordable housing bill

November 4
Senator Barack Obama defeats Senator John McCain to be the next President of the United States; the Star-Ledger reports that Corzine is being vetted as possible Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration

November 6
Transportation Secretary Kris Kolluri announces he will leave the Department of Transportation to become chief executive officer of the Schools Development Authority effective December 1

November 17
Chris Christie (R) announces that he will resign as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey in two weeks, fueling speculation that he will run for governor in 2009

November 18
The New Jersey Supreme Court rejects Corzine’s request to end the Abbott vs. Burke school funding case and orders hearings in front of Special Master Judge Peter Doyne in which the Corzine administration will have to prove its new funding formula makes the Abbott ruling unnecessary

Corzine nominates current assistant commissioner Mark Mauriello to be the next commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection

November 22
President-Elect Barack Obama nominates Timothy Geithner, head of the New York Federal Reserve, to be Treasury Secretary, ending speculation that the post could go to Corzine

December 1
Corzine signs bill allocating $12.5 million in state funds and $51.4 million in federal money to provide assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure

December 10
President-Elect Obama nominates former DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson–who just became Corzine’s chief of staff nine days ago–to lead the federal Environmental Protection Agency

December 11
Corzine travels to Washington, D.C. with fellow Governors Jim Doyle (D-WI) and Jim Douglas (R-VT) to push for federal relief from the drop in state revenues due to the recession

December 30
State Treasurer David Rousseau announces that Corzine will delay the introduction of his proposed budget for the next fiscal year until March 10 so he can factor in hoped-for aid from a federal stimulus bill; the proposed budget is usually unveiled in mid to late February


January 2
Corzine outlines a plan to close a $2.1 billion hole in the current state budget opened by the national economic crisis. The plan includes, among other things, $812 million in spending cuts, an 18-month salary freeze for the entire state workforce, and pulling back $500 million budgeted to pay down the state’s long-term debt. Many of the proposed cuts would require legislative approval and/or negotiation with state workers unions

January 6
Corzine makes a surprise visit to Iraq to visit New Jersey troops stationed there

January 8
Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) officially enters the gubernatorial race, declaring himself “the underdog”

January 13
Corzine delivers his third State of the State speech, focusing on the state of the economy and the difficult fight ahead but projecting a positive and hopeful tone, saying “our best days lie ahead”

January 14
The Federal Transit Administration issues final approval for the construction of a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River

January 20
Corzine travels to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States

February 5
Corzine signs law providing harsher penalties for individuals who are caught with machine guns or illegal assault weapons

February 10
Assemblyman Douglas Fisher (D) is chosen to be the state’s next Agriculture Secretary replacing Charles Kuperus, who retired in December

February 13
The United States Congress passes a $787 billion stimulus bill; Corzine calls it an “incredibly positive helping hand for the nation’s economy”

February 17
With tax revenues continuing to decline and the current year budget gap widening, Corzine calls for a two-day furlough of state workers and warns of the possibility of more furloughs or layoffs if state employee unions do not agree to a wage freeze

March 5
Corzine says he is preparing for large-scale layoffs of public employees if the state employee unions do not agree to wage freezes and up to 12 unpaid furlough days

Corzine releases a list of transportation projects to be funded by $900 million in federal stimulus funds

March 10
In his annual budget address, Corzine unveils a $29.8 billion budget that would eliminate property tax deductions on state income taxes and reduce property tax rebate checks for most taxpayers. With state revenues continuing to decline, the budget also includes cuts to many state programs and services, reductions in aid to local governments, and a wage freeze and furloughs for state workers. The budget would also raise payroll taxes on employers and tax rates on the wealthy, as well as increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and the lottery. Corzine says the cuts and tax increases are necessary due to the “unprecedented circumstances of our national economic crisis.” Corzine also states that the budget would prioritize protecting funding for schools and services that provide for the state’s most vulnerable citizens

March 11
Corzine releases his budget’s state school aid figures showing a $304 million increase in state funding to schools, made possible by stabilization funding from the federal stimulus package

March 18
By declining to hear arguments, the State Supreme Court upholds an appellate decision holding that Corzine should not be forced to make public his emails with former union leader Carla Katz

March 19
Corzine announces that he has revised his proposed budget; the new budget will allow the deduction of property taxes on state income taxes for households earning under $150,000

March 25
The Civil Service Commission passes an emergency rule granting state and local governments the power to furlough workers; four union workers are arrested for disrupting the meeting in protest

A Superior Court judge acting as a Special Master rules the Corzine school funding formula constitutional, but says Abbott districts should be able to ask for additional aid for at least three years

March 30
State employee unions file court challenges to the Civil Service Commission decision to allow state worker furloughs

March 31
Corzine signs a package of bills designed to promote the development of renewable energy sources

April 2
Corzine announces that New Jersey will receive $3.67 million from a nationwide settlement with failed mortgage company Countrywide Financial

April 6
David Rosen, budget officer for the Office of Legislative Services, projects that state revenues for the current fiscal year could be $605 million less than Corzine projected in his budget address, a shortfall that would require more spending cuts and/or tax increases

Corzine submits his nominating petition, officially beginning his campaign for reelection to the governorship

April 7
State employee unions organize rallies across the state to protest Corzine’s call for wage freezes and unpaid furlough days

April 13
Corzine proposes a $3.6 billion capital construction program for the next fiscal year, including $2.2 billion for highway and bridge projects and $1.4 billion for N.J. Transit’s mass transit projects; it represents a 9% increase from the prior year

April 17
A state appeals court upholds the ability of state and local governments to furlough public employees

April 21
Attorney General Anne Milgram tells the Assembly budget committee that the state will not hire 150 new state troopers as planned in the coming fiscal year unless federal funding is obtained

April 23
The Civil Service Commission holds a public hearing at the Lawrenceville Armory on the plan to furlough state employees for two days in the coming months; hundreds of workers show up to protest the plan

April 30
With revenues continuing to fall further behind projections, Corzine tells the Associated Press that the shortfall could reach $1.5 to $2 billion by the end of the fiscal year. He notes that a shortfall that large would require significant changes to the proposed budget

May 1
Corzine delays an offering of $364 million in transportation bonds as tax revenues continue to decline

May 3
A tax amnesty plan supported by Corzine begins, allowing people who owe overdue taxes back to 2002 to pay what they owe without penalty and with half of the interest owed waived; Corzine hopes the program will bring $100 million dollars in back taxes into the state’s treasury by its end date of June 15

May 6
Corzine announces $49.4 million in state stimulus fund grants will be awarded to municipalities across the state as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund

May 14
In the face of a $1.2 billion budget shortfall and in order to keep the budget balanced through the end of the fiscal year, Corzine announces a series of emergency budget moves: he will tap into $450 million from surplus funds; push another $450 million in planned expenses into the next fiscal year’s budget; reduce the state’s annual pension fund contribution by $150 million; and make $150 million in to-be-announced departmental spending cuts. He also says the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will require an additional $2 billion worth of spending cuts

May 15
Corzine says he will re-nominate State Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin for lifetime tenure to the Court

May 19
State Treasurer David Rousseau unveils Corzine’s plan to bridge the significant budget gap in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The plan contains significant spending cuts, suspends property tax rebate checks for one year, raises taxes on those earning $400,000 to $500,000, and raises taxes further on those making over $1 million

May 28
The State Supreme Court rules that Corzine’s school funding formula is “constitutionally adequate” and can replace the Abbott formula, with a review of its progress required after three years

June 2
Corzine easily wins the Democratic primary to run for reelection in the November gubernatorial election; former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie wins the Republican primary

June 3
Corzine announces he has reached a tentative agreement with the state’s largest public workers union for wage freezes and 10 unpaid furlough days in the fiscal year beginning July 1 in return for a no-layoff pledge through December 2010; the agreement would save the state approximately $300 million

June 5
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announces that New Jersey’s application for $890 million in federal stimulus education money has been approved

June 8
State and federal officials hold a groundbreaking ceremony in Hudson County on a second passenger rail tunnel to be built under the Hudson River

June 18
The State Senate and Assembly postpone planned votes on the budget after Corzine’s tax amnesty plan brings in $400 million—significantly more than expected; Corzine pledges to use that money to provide property tax relief for middle class homeowners in the new budget

June 25
The State Senate and Assembly pass–along party lines–a $29 billion budget bill, with property tax rebates restored to households with up to $75,000 in income. The budget is $4 billion less than the previous year’s

June 30
With only minor alterations, Corzine signs the $29 billion budget, noting that while some Republicans criticized the budget, they offered “no real alternative”

July 7
Independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett raises enough money to qualify for matching funds under the state public financing law

July 16
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel to support Corzine’s run for reelection

July 20
Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie picks Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno (R) to be his running mate. The 2009 gubernatorial election will be the first in New Jersey to include the lieutenant governor position

July 23
Federal prosecutors arrest dozens of politicians, community leaders, and religious leaders across the state on public corruption charges, including bribery and money laundering, after a two-year investigation. In all, 44 people are arrested as part of the sting operation, 29 of them from New Jersey

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joe Doria resigns after federal agents investigating the money-laundering scheme search his house and seize records from his office in Trenton. Doria is not among the suspects arrested and is later fully cleared of any wrongdoing

July 25
Corzine selects State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D) to be his running mate for the November election

August 3
Corzine and Attorney General Anne Milgram announce that the murder rate in New Jersey dropped 24% in the first six months of 2009

August 10
Trailing in recent polls, Corzine hires Democratic strategists Bill Maer and Jamie Fox to join his campaign for reelection

August 14
In a public ceremony at Metropark train station, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signs a $298 million stimulus check to be used for mass transit projects in New Jersey; $130 million is earmarked for the Hudson River tunnel project

August 18
Corzine signs a bill that will send to voters a referendum on a $400 million bond for open space preservation; the question will appear on the November ballot

August 27
Corzine signs a bill that creates an office under the attorney general to oversee motor vehicle stops by the State Police to prevent racial profiling as part of a deal to end a decade-old consent decree between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice allowing federal monitoring of the New Jersey State Police

August 30
Corzine signs legislation that requires the state to name hospitals responsible for making certain categories of medical mistakes and that prohibits hospitals from charging for some preventable medical errors

September 1
A Quinnipiac University poll shows Corzine trailing Republican challenger Chris Christie by 10 points in his bid for reelection; a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll has his deficit at 5 points

September 8
In a statement, Corzine notes that New Jersey’s crime rate rose in 2008 for the first time in seven years, but that violent crime rates in the state continue to fall

September 9
During a school tour in Perth Amboy, Corzine announces that the state has completed construction of 45 new schools since January 2006

September 16
The unemployment rate in New Jersey rises to 9.7%, matching the national rate, but private sector jobs increase for the second month in a row

September 21
Federal oversight of the New Jersey State Police officially ends

September 23
The state approves applications for eight new charter schools, the largest number of approvals in a single year since 1999

September 30
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Christie’s lead over Corzine is down to four points

Twelve Democrats in the State Senate publicly announce they will support State Senator Stephen Sweeney for Senate President over current leader Richard Codey, likely giving Sweeney enough votes to take over as Senate President when the body elects new leadership after Election Day

October 1
Corzine, Chris Christie (R), and Chris Daggett (I) participate in the first debate of the gubernatorial general election season

October 7
Vice President Joe Biden leads a rally of union workers in Atlantic City to support Corzine’s bid for reelection

Corzine issues an executive order requiring State Comptroller Matthew Boxer to review financial audits of the Hudson River tunnel project to ensure its solvency and determine whether additional oversight is needed for the project

October 8
In a meeting with the Star-Ledger editorial board, Corzine unveils a plan to close the looming budget gap if he is reelected; the plan includes a smaller contribution to the state pension system, a 2,000-employee reduction in the state workforce, and possibly continuing a temporary income tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest taxpayers. Corzine criticizes Christie for not having a detailed plan to deal with the shortfall

October 9
Christie announces his plan to close the state’s budget gap; he says he will delay his planned tax cuts and spending increases until the economy recovers, but will reverse Corzine’s tax surcharge on wealthy taxpayers and will restore the rescinded property tax rebates. Christie does not detail how he will pay for those changes

October 14
The State reaches an agreement with Powerball officials to bring the multi-state lottery game to New Jersey; Corzine estimates the game could bring up to $40 million into the next fiscal year’s budget

October 16
Corzine, Christie, and Daggett participate in the second debate of the gubernatorial general election season

October 20
In his first of two campaign visits, former president Bill Clinton attends a rally in Collingswood in support of Corzine’s bid for reelection

October 21
President Barack Obama visits New Jersey to give a speech at Fairleigh Dickinson University supporting Corzine’s reelection; Obama returns again a week later to further campaign for Corzine

October 22
As a new Eagleton poll shows the race between Christie and Corzine too close to call, all three candidates meet at radio station WBGO-FM in Newark for the third and final debate of the election season

October 28
A Quinnipiac University poll shows Corzine with a five point lead over Christie; while close, it is the first time Corzine has led in the university’s poll

November 3
Christie defeats Corzine 48.9 – 44.5 to become governor-elect and deny Corzine a second term as governor; Daggett finishes a distant third with 5.7 percent. Democrats retain control of the Assembly. The $400 million open space bond issue narrowly passes

November 5
With state revenues continuing to fall short of projections, Corzine calls for up to $400 million in cuts by December 1, asking departments to identify possible cuts; he also indicates the state hiring freeze will remain in place

November 12
Corzine says in a public appearance that he is working with Christie to ensure as smooth a transition as possible

December 1
Treasury spokesman Tom Bell says the state will hold back $20.6 million in municipal aid due to the looming hole in the state budget

December 4
Corzine nominates his chief of staff, Ed McBride, to become a Superior Court judge in Camden County

December 8
Due to the continuing budget crisis, Corzine freezes $10 million in state grants previously promised to arts groups in the state

December 14
Corzine’s office releases the names of 180 people appointed or nominated to numerous state boards and commissions; Christie later criticizes the move as a “de facto extension of the Corzine administration”

December 22
Corzine unveils his final list of $839 million in current-year spending cuts, but lifts the freeze on state aid to municipalities and arts groups

January 5, 2010
Corzine and Christie reach an agreement on lame duck nominations, allowing dozens of Corzine’s nominations to go forward in return for Corzine’s agreement not to make appointments to certain high-profile boards and commissions including the Board of Public Utilities, the Port Authority, and the Sports and Exposition Authority

January 12
Corzine delivers his final State of the State Address, doubling as a farewell address for his administration. He admits to not accomplishing everything he wanted, but says he leaves “with gratitude, not regret” and that he hopes he succeeded “in making this state a more humane place for its children and its families”

January 14
Corzine launches a state website that allows users to search and monitor state spending, revenue, and purchasing

January 18
In his last full day in office, Corzine signs a bill legalizing marijuana for medical purposes

January 19
Christie is inaugurated as the 55th Governor of the State of New Jersey