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(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) released the following statement after Wednesday’s Assembly Budget Committee meeting:

“The concerns we heard today indicate New Jerseyans are uneasy about the direction of Gov. Christie’s cuts and what they mean for New Jersey’s future.

“We should be considering other cuts that won’t increase property taxes and lead to more hospital closings and uninsured residents and cuts in services to the developmentally disabled, blind, deaf and hungry. Those outcomes were certainly not the change New Jerseyans were hoping would arrive.

“As Assembly Republican Budget Officer Joe Malone said on Dec. 22, taking school aid ‘from only those districts operating with a surplus is tantamount to punishing those who have planned and budgeted efficiently’ and, ‘We can no longer rely on dipping into the taxpayers’ pockets to balance the books.’

“We called this hearing to give Gov. Christie’s plan the open debate it had not received from the executive branch. The public deserved no less, and at least we now know the governor has acknowledged his plan requires legislative approvals.

“We know cuts are needed and this committee has been dedicated to promoting spending cuts and challenging administrations for years, so we will be cutting spending.

“But we also still have many unanswered questions about Gov. Christie’s cuts and the direction we are heading, so I am requesting the acting state treasurer come before this committee, hopefully as early as Monday, to explain the rationale behind these decisions.

“I look forward to his visit.”

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