Clifford A. Goldman, 75, of Ewing died Sept. 16, 2018.
Mr. Goldman served as New Jersey state treasurer from 1976 to 1982 and was a principal architect of the Brendan Byrne administration’s school finance reform package that led to adoption of the state’s first income tax in 1976. An expert in public finance, he also served in the administrations of governors Richard Hughes and William Cahill and assisted in the transition planning for several later administrations. In 1982, he established Goldman, Beale Associates, a financial consulting firm that advised dozens of state agencies and municipalities.
A graduate of Rutgers University, where he was a Henry Rutgers Scholar, he held master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he was later a visiting professor in public finance.
He first served in N.J. government as an assistant to Paul Ylvisaker, the state’s first commissioner of community affairs. In 1969, he was named executive director of the newly created Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission.
In 1974, he was named deputy state treasurer and was tasked with composing Byrne’s response to the Supreme Court’s ruling that the state’s school finance program violated the N.J. constitution. That response passed the state Assembly but failed in the Senate. In 1976, the Supreme Court ordered the schools shut down, and the legislature enacted a revised version of the school aid and income tax package, ending decades of political stalemate.
When a near default on New York City debt threatened the financial stability of N.J. cities as well, he proposed a plan for channeling state aid directly to city bond trustees, a no-cost measure that reopened the bond market and guaranteed a minimum A credit rating for the state’s municipalities and school districts. The proposal was codified in 1975 as the NJ Qualified Bond Act.
Soon after that, he proposed that the assets of the constitutionally established Fund for Support of Free Public Schools be pledged by statute to service school bonds in the event of default. Statutory approval of that measure raised the minimum rating of all school bonds to AA. Together, these initiatives have reduced debt service costs for local and school borrowers by millions of dollars.
As state treasurer, he oversaw the department’s implementation of the new state income tax, which required quick, accurate processing of paperwork.
He also proposed refinancing of the outstanding debt of both the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which, after voter approval, produced major cost savings for both. In the case of the sports authority, the savings were sufficient to offset the construction costs of the Meadowlands Arena.
The state had seen its credit rating reduced from AAA to AA by Moody’s in 1975. With adoption of the income tax, he argued that the state’s financial foundation was again sound and that a rating upgrade was in order. Moody’s agreed and restored its highest rating. At the end of Byrne’s term, New Jersey was one of a few states holding AAA ratings from all three major rating services.
He also had served as chair of the Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness since 2009.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Irene Etkin; two sons, Daniel and Paul; a brother, Richard; and a granddaughter.
A celebration of life was held Sept. 21 at Temple Micah in Lawrenceville, with funeral arrangements by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to the Coalition for Peace Action in Princeton or Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness in Trenton.