New Jersey became the latest state to raid money designed to support clean energy programs. This was first raised as a serious issue in my December 17, 2009 blog when New York did this.
New Jersey is part of the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast. Money the state receives from the quarterly auction of permits allowing power plants to emit carbon dioxide was supposed to go to programs promoting clean energy and energy efficiency. However, New Jersey's new governor, Chris Christie, recently decided to move $65 million of these funds to its General Fund to help fill a hugh budget deficit. When New York did this late last year, they moved $90 million to its General Fund to help ease the state's deficit.
With many states in dire financial straits and experiencing significant budget deficits as a result of the recession, it is not surprising that such raiding of these "convenient" funds takes place. It also establishes quite clearly where the priority lies in these states.