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(18th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) — Citing a new CNBC report on the top states for doing business, Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. on Friday criticized Gov. Chris Christie’s state budget that cut education aid by more than $1billion.

CNBC’s fourth annual study of “America’s Top States for Business” measured states in 10 categories of business competitiveness, including education.

CNBC ranked New Jersey as second in the nation in education after considering measures such as test scores, class size and spending. It noted, “Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family.”

Diegnan (D-Middlesex) released the following statement:

“This confirms what everyone who cares about education in New Jersey already knew — we have one of the finest education systems in the country.

“The governor often speaks of making our state more attractive to business. CNBC, a leading business media outlet, reminds us that a quality education system is an essential element to attracting business to the state. Based on a host of factors such as K-12 education, it ranked New Jersey second in the nation.

“But this report is a warning signal. If we continue to underfund education, businesses will choose to locate in states that make education a priority.

“Regrettably the train has already left the station for the upcoming school year. Tuition is skyrocketing at our colleges and universities while courses are being reduced. Preschool and kindergarten are being curtailed and class sizes are exploding throughout our state.

“Sadly Gov. Christie’s criticism of our education system will shortly become a self fulfilling prophecy.

“Despite reports such as this that show New Jersey is one of the best places to educate your kids the governor refuses to provide required state support. Inevitably this will lead to declining schools.

“Simply stated we cannot continue to let this happen. Hopefully after the governor reads the CNBC report he will commit himself to fully funding education in the next budget. The future of our state depends on it.”