ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS: TESTIMONY SHOWS CUTS TO CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS PUT FUTURES AT RISK

(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats released the following statements Tuesday after hearing testimony on Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts to programs that serve children:
Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):
“The testimony we heard today makes very clear that these inexplicable cuts to programs crucial to the well-being of New Jersey’s most vulnerable children are irresponsible both fiscally and morally. We’re committed to working to resolve the crisis facing many of these caring organizations, and remain hopeful everyone will work cooperatively toward that goal.”
Assembly Human Services Chairwoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen):
“Budgets are a reflection of priorities, and after hearing this testimony I continue to be very sorry to see that New Jersey’s most vulnerable children are not everyone’s priority. This isn’t about politics. This is about New Jersey’s abused, sick, disabled and poor children who deserve better and we’ve got to find a way to help ease some of these cuts.”
Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen):
“For many blind children in our state and those suffering from developmental disabilities, the state services they receive have been a saving grace. In addition to the testimony we heard today, I’ve talked to many parents who have said that without these programs, their children might never reach their full potential. We cannot turn our backs on the needs of some of our most vulnerable children.”
Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Hudson/Bergen):
“What this hearing proved is that the vetoes do, indeed, have real life consequences. These programs have been a proven success and an oasis for children subjected to some of the most unimaginable horrors and difficulties. When Republicans claim no one is really hurt by this budget, they are sorely mistaken, and I hope we all will now work together to resolve these cuts.”
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland):
“For years now, the court-appointed special advocates, services for the blind and the NJ After 3 program, among others, have proven to be a powerful intervention system, leading many children down a productive path in life. What we learned today is that the veto of the funding for these programs means the future of these children is now less clear and at risk. We need to do better.”
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“These cuts punish parents for having to work, and children for having adversities they struggle to overcome. We need to work together to find a way to repair the damage caused by these cuts and allow New Jersey’s most vulnerable children to get the services they need.”
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer):
“There’s no justification for cutting funding to programs whose sole purpose is to help children affected by disabilities, abuse and poverty. These children have enough to endure without these vetoes making their journey that more difficult, and we all need to work cooperatively to find solutions.”
Assemblywoman Elease Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen):
“Are we as a state willing to cut funding for programs that assist abused children and children with disabilities? Surely not. That does not represent our core value. We must all see that these programs continue to provide the services these children need.”