ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS: FIRST BUDGET HEARING SHOWS CHRISTIE BUDGET OUT-OF-STEP WITH NEW JERSEY WORKING CLASS

(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Committee Democrats released the following statements Tuesday as the panel convened the first public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed state budget:
Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):
“Today’s hearing makes it even more clear that Gov. Christie’s priorities are not those of working class New Jersey families.
“As we heard today, time and again this governor pushes the heaviest burden onto the backs of working class New Jerseyans through increased property taxes and reduced access to quality health care, whether it be for women and children or assistance for the blind.
“This may please the national conservatives, but it does nothing for middle-class and poor New Jerseyans struggling to make ends meet and get the health care they need.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure this Christie budget does its best to meet the needs of hard-working New Jerseyans.”
Assembly Budget Vice Chairman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen/Essex):
“Once again our state faces imposing budget woes for next fiscal year, and many services we’ve come to depend on will be curtailed, but that’s why it’s especially important that this budget represent shared sacrifice for all New Jerseyans.
“The governor’s plan again targets working families with the heaviest burdens while reaffirming policies that have created an unprecedented wealth gap in the United States. That is not good news for our middle-class and poor.”
Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen):
“Everyone knows these are tough economic times, which is why we need a state budget that lifts hard-working New Jerseyans struggling daily to make ends meet.
“We do not need another budget that targets working class New Jersey families. We do not need another budget that attacks the health care so many women and families need for their quality of life.
“We will take a close look at the governor’s budget plan, but the result cannot be more property tax increases and less access to health care.”
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland):
“Today’s hearing shines a light on how this budget will do little to help middle-class and poor New Jerseyans struggling with property tax increases.
“Sadly, this budget represents more of the same Christie policies of pushing the property tax burden onto working families. Hopefully, the governor will be willing to work with us to ease that blow and ensure this budget is built upon shared sacrifice by everyone.”
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“This budget plan, as we heard today, puts our health care safety net at risk and increases the burden on working class families struggling to make ends meet. New Jerseyans deserve better than a plan that exacerbates the struggles of middle-class and poor families.
“The governor has made a regular pattern out of disinvesting in cities, whether it be going after economic development incentives or threatening the financial wellbeing of hospitals and health clinics. This cannot continue or we’ll be dealing with even worse problems.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer):
“The governor has repeatedly attacked women’s health care and working class values since the day he took office, so it should be no surprise that the testimony we heard here today shows the assault continues.
“This Christie budget plan does not represent the core values of working class New Jerseyans. It does not represent shared sacrifice, create jobs, provide adequate property tax relief or preserve the health care so vital to working families.”