Assembly Budget Committee Member John F. McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) on Friday decried Gov. Christie’s executive order freezing critical legislative budget priorities.
“The Governor’s actions are disingenuous at best. Throughout the budget process he failed to detail how he would achieve $250 million in healthcare savings and now he is holding these vital programs hostage as a result.
“This is an egregious overstep of power made worse by the administration’s dereliction of duty in identifying these cost savings. Throughout the budget hearing process, my committee asked the departments of Treasury, Health, and Banking and Insurance how they intended to achieve these cost savings and they were unable to produce any tangible recommendations.
“Now the Governor has passed this responsibility off to an unelected commission that is accountable to no one while crucial programs remain in limbo, programs such as Transitional Aid that provides a crucial lifeline to struggling cities like Paterson and Trenton, as well as the Educational Opportunity Fund, the Cancer Research Commission and the Cancer Institute of NJ, the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, and CASA and Project S.A.R.A.H., which help abused and neglected children and victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, respectively.
“Rather than work with the legislature to help identify these cost savings, he chose to wait until the 12th hour to pass the responsibility off to an unaccountable commission. This is unacceptable.”