Testimony Reinforces How Christie Budget Plan Does Not Contain Shared Sacrifice
(TRENTON) – Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Committee issued a multimedia package on Tuesday discussing the testimony they heard during the committee’s second public hearing on Gov. Chris Christie’s budget plan.
The lawmakers said the Monday testimony from about 150 people reinforced how the governor’s proposal disproportionately burdens senior citizens and the middle class.
The multimedia package consists of a video on the hearing, audio of same, a transcript of comments from the members and a press release discussing the hearing in more detail. The video can be accessed directly via our Web site – www.assemblydems.com – or by pasting the following link into a Web browser: http://www.vimeo.com/11069830 The audio file is available upon request.
A press release on the budget public hearing can be found at either www.assemblydems.com or by visiting the Assembly Democrats on Facebook.
A transcript of comments from the Democratic members of the committee follows:
Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden):
“I think what you’re hearing today is that sound bites don’t make a difference in people’s lives, and you’re hearing mayors who are both Republican and Democrat coming in and saying, ‘You know, we’ve already made cuts. We’ve already laid people off. We’ve already reopened contracts.”
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen):
“This governor’s proposed budget – where he states that this would be ‘shared sacrifice’ -has really shown to be that this would not be shared sacrifice. There are those who are being forced to endure a lot more than others in this budget.”
Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Middlesex):
“This budget and these budget cuts are falling very, very tough on the working class. They’re falling very difficult on obviously the communities with municipal aid being cut and education aid being cut.”
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex): “We’re hearing from municipalities about how even through their best efforts at shared services, cutting back and layoffs that they’re still going to have incredibly high property tax increases, that basically what we’re doing is we’re passing the burden down to them.”
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen/Essex):
“Cuts to this budget will deleteriously effect the middle-class first and foremost, and the poor certainly, children, seniors, any number of groups throughout New Jersey. What we’re not hearing enough, however, is how that sacrifice is being shared by those people making much, much more than the average New Jerseyan, those people making $400,000 or more.”
Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Hudson):
“This budget does not have shared sacrifice. The lower you are on the socioeconomic ladder, the more you’re going to suffer. If you’re at the very top, you don’t suffer at all.”
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem):
“We’re hearing from mayors and other interested parties, they’re all willing to do their part, and even a little bit more, but nobody wants to carry a disproportionate load as we sort this thing out.”
“These people have nowhere else to go. They’re already made their cuts. They’ve lived within their means and they’re struggling, and we as the budget committee need to start looking at the ripple effect of those cuts.”
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