Former New Jersey State Treasurer Clifford A. Goldman, a respected public finance expert whose ability to identify weaknesses in the 1977 tax plan proposed by the Republican candidate for governor played a critical role in the re-election of Gov. Brendan Byrne, died this morning at his home in Ewing. He was 75.
Goldman had been battling leukemia, his wife Irene said in a statement issued by the Goldman family.
Byrne appointed Goldman to serve as state treasurer in 1976, a post he held until Tom Kean became governor in January 1982. He was the principal architect of the school finance reform package that led to the creation of the state’s first income tax.
He began his career in state government during the administration of Gov. Richard Hughes, serving as an assistant to Commissioner of Community Affairs Paul Ylvisaker. Hughes named him executive director of the new Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission in 1969.
Byrne appointed him deputy state treasurer in 1974, serving under Richard Leone.
Goldman was tasked with composing Byrne’s response to the Supreme Court’s ruling that the state’s school finance violated the NJ constitution. His plan included a new school finance formula, a 2% income tax, spending caps on school and municipal budgets and property tax relief for owners whose tax bill exceeded a percentage of income, passed the State Assembly but stalled when the State Senate failed to approve it.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ended the stalemate when it ordered the closing of public schools until the Legislature passed a school aide and income tax package.
Byrne began his 1977 re-election campaign trailing the Republican nominee, State Sen. Raymond Bateman (R-Branchburg). Bateman had opposed Byrne’s income tax, and working with former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, came up with his own plan to eliminate the tax. Backed up by talking points Goldman came up with, Byrne criticized the plan, calling in the Bateman-Simon plan, and in typical Byrne style, nicknamed it the BS plan.
Goldman founded Goldman, Beale Associates, a financial consulting firm, in 1982. Goldman’s clients included dozens of state agencies, as well as Newark, Trenton, Jersey City, Paterson, North Bergen and Camden.
He was a graduate of Rutgers where he was a Henry Rutgers Honors Scholar, he held M.A. and PhD degrees from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where he later served a visiting Professor in public finance.
Goldman had served as chairperson of the Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness from 2009 until stepping down due to illness.
He is survived by his wife, sons Daniel and Paul, a granddaughter, and his brother, Richard.
Plans for a memorial service are in formation.