ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS: FINAL BUDGET HEARING MAKES CLEAR BUDGET PLAN EQUALS MORE PAIN FOLLOWING CHRISTIE’S 2010 PROPERTY TAX HIKES

Assembly Budget Committee Democrats released the following statements Wednesday as the panel wrapped up its third and final scheduled public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed state budget:

Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):
“Last year the governor gave New Jersey its highest property tax increase in four years, and after these hearings it’s more clear now than ever that the governor’s budget plan puts even more of a burden on New Jersey’s middle-class and poor residents.Time and again during these hearings we heard about how this plan will result in higher property taxes, do little to cure our over-reliance on property taxes and strip away vital health care from those who need it most. Budgets reflect our priorities, and sadly, the governor’s budget again does not reflect the priorities of hard-working New Jersey families paying Christie property tax hikes.

Assembly Budget Vice Chairman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen/Essex):
“Everyone understands these are difficult economic times, but that doesn’t mean we should place the burden squarely on our middle-class, poor and those less fortunate, as we saw happen last year with the highest property tax hike since 2007.

“This budget plan does nothing to ease the load carried by our working class families. Education, health care and public safety remain at risk, and property tax relief remains scant. When all is said and done, this budget must ensure that everyone is sharing the burden, unlike last year.

Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley (D-Hudson/Bergen):
“We heard repeatedly during these hearings how this budget does nothing more than increase the burden facing middle-class and poor New Jersey families struggling to make ends meet under last year’s Christie property tax increase.

“This budget plan is more of the same, which is disappointing. Hopefully the governor, unlike last year, is open in the coming weeks to easing the burden on working class families.”

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen):
“Working class New Jerseyans and senior citizens deserve better than a state budget plan that attacks their values and will simply mean more property tax hike and less access to quality health care.

“Women and children already bore the brunt of the governor’s health care cuts last year. We cannot let it continue. The governor must be open to a budget that actually includes real shared sacrifice for all New Jerseyans, not one that repeats last year’s hefty property tax increase.”

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland):
“Hard-working New Jersey families and senior citizens need a state budget based on their priorities of property tax relief and access to quality health care, not a plan that puts the burden on their shoulders. We cannot repeat last year’s property tax hikes.

“I continue to hope the governor will be willing to work with us to ease the blow on our middle-class and poor. We cannot continue to ask working class residents alone to carry the burden in this difficult economic climate.”

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer):
“As we heard repeatedly during these hearings, this budget continues the governor’s attack on women’s health care and working class values. That’s unacceptable, as was last year’s Christie property tax hikes that were the highest since 2007.

“This Christie budget does not represent shared sacrifice, create jobs, provide adequate property tax relief or preserve the health care so vital to working families. It is, quite simply, an assault on our middle-class and poor.”