(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Monday as the Assembly Budget Committee heard testimony on Gov. Chris Christie’s budget plan for the state Department of Health and Senior Services:

“This much is already clear — Gov. Christie needs to admit his mistake and find a way to restore senior citizen property tax relief and eliminate his plan to charge seniors significantly more for prescription drugs.

“Seniors are already strapped, with many on a fixed income and already living on the edge of poverty.

“Nearly 40 percent of New Jersey seniors earn less than $25,000 per year. They cannot afford these cuts, nor can they afford to be taxed with higher medication fees.

“Under Christie’s plan, many seniors, in fact, will lose $1,295 in property tax relief while paying $430 more to get prescription drugs, while millionaires enjoy an $8,030 tax cut.

“Gov. Christie should not be targeting senior citizens, especially while supporting a tax break for our wealthiest residents.

“That’s not shared sacrifice.”

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