(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Committee members Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) and Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Passaic) issued a multimedia package Tuesday in which they discuss their concerns over the impact Gov. Christie’s municipal aid cuts have had on public safety, especially in New Jersey’s cities.
The Democratic Assemblymen said that people didn’t deserve to be prisoners in their home and that, in a budget that is 7 percent larger than last year’s that some portion of municipal aid must be restored.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the Assemblymen discussing the problems caused by the reductions in municipal aid and their commitment to seeing some portion of it restored and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the committee members is appended below:
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“I’m extremely concerned with the rapid increases in crime we’ve seen in our cities throughout the state, not just in Newark, as a result of budget cuts to municipal aid. We’ve seen towns such as Newark, Paterson and Trenton and Camden all lay off over 100 police officers a piece and you’ve seen more than double digit crime increases across every single category. And what’s happening is people are becoming prisoners in their homes.”
Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Passaic):
“We have 140 less police officers in the streets of the City of Paterson. It’s ridiculous. Here it is April and I think we’ve had over 30-plus shootings and, you know, eight to nine murders.
“So, it’s something that’s alarming.
“And how do you feel safe in your own area? How do you feel safe in your own home or your business when you have such alarming rates of crime increase?”
“So I believe, in a budget that is going up seven percent, that we need to make this a priority. People should not be prisoners in their home as a result of cuts to municipal aid.”