ASSEMBLY BUDGET PANEL TO MEET WEDNESDAY ON CHRISTIE’S BUDGET PLAN

(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald on Friday announced the Assembly Budget Committee will meet on Wednesday to hear testimony on Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to close the current fiscal year’s budget shortfall.

Christie’s plan includes cutting aid for schools, hospitals, colleges, public transit and job creation and was done through executive order with neither public analysis nor debate.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) on Thursday directed the committee to meet so it can begin analyzing Christie’s plan and “give it the transparency that it so far has lacked and the public deserves.”

“Gov. Christie’s ill-advised plan steers New Jerseyans toward property tax increases, potential hospital closures and the possibility of higher tuition and transit fares that are no different than tax hikes,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “It also kills job creation. On top of all that, Gov. Christie kept his plan secret and executed it without any public discussion. This is undemocratic and an affront to residents and businesses alike.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 in Committee Room 11 on the fourth-floor of the State House Annex.

The hearing will be streamed live at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.

“New Jerseyans have many questions about Gov. Christie’s painful plan and we’re going to try to get to the bottom of it,” Greenwald said. “The Assembly and the Budget Committee have long been committed to transparency and engaging the public at every turn. Gov. Christie may not want this plan to undergo public scrutiny, but that’s what the public expects and deserves.”

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