(TRENTON) — Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Committee issued a multimedia package Friday in which they discuss the state’s $10.5 billion structural deficit for fiscal year 2012, as projected by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS).
The multimedia package consists of a video on the projected deficit, audio of same and a transcript of statements from the Democratic legislators.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of statements from Democratic members of the committee is appended below:
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Budget Committee vice chair:
“The structural deficit of the State of New Jersey last year was at $7.84 billion. This year, that structural deficit has increased to almost $11 billion.”
Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden), Assembly Budget Committee chair:
“You know, we talk about the state running as a business — Republicans, Democrats. We talk about people being responsible in their own personal lives and their family.
“You know, this would be like any family in New Jersey that’s living in tough times in this economy and saying, ‘We’re going to tighten our belts and we’re going to live on less.’ And the way that we’re going to do that is to not make their mortgage payment or to not pay their credit card.
“That’s not sacrifice. The state has to start living up to its obligation and paying its bills.”
Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), Assembly Appropriations Committee chair:
“He [Gov. Christie] didn’t really change anything. What he did do was leave certain areas blank. The fact that many of those particular statutory requirements or categories that are required to be fulfilled by the state’s budget was not funded only leaves that to this year’s upcoming budget deficit.”
Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“I don’t see how the governor can claim victory when the deficit now has increased. It’s more than it was when he took office.”
“We need to work together, Republicans and Democrats, but we need to make sure that the kind of messages that we’re receiving through the Republican Party are consistent. And right now, unfortunately, they’re not.”
“And the reality is that we didn’t cut anything, we avoided a payment. When you don’t make a pension payment, when you reduce funding to state aid to municipalities and school districts and property taxes go up – we didn’t cut anything, we just pushed that obligation to somewhere else.”
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“And we do need to be honest with the residents of the State of New Jersey and not play politics with the real numbers. Because I think that’s a lot of what’s happened: candidate Christie said things which, obviously, Gov. Christie is going against.
“These are serious issues and we need serious answers.”