(TRENTON) — Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Committee – Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), the committee chairman, John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman, Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) – issued a multimedia package Wednesday noting the Assembly Republican failure to support New Jersey’s middle class and poor and their refusal to acknowledge the state’s budgetary obligations in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the members chastising their Republican colleagues and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the Democratic Assembly members is appended below:
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Budget Committee Chairman:
“I wish someone would share with me what the other plan is. And that is how are you meeting a $2.4 billion shortfall?
“We speak of fiscal responsibility; we speak of fiscal prudence; we speak of fiscal integrity. Those cannot be words, those have to be deeds. I must tell you, I would be in infinitely shape if, when my American Express card bills come — because, of course, there are multiple American Express bills in my household — I could simply put them away, put them in a drawer and say they don’t exist. But I can’t put the bills away! And fiscal responsibility and fiscal prudence says that I cannot.
“We have been dealing with these kinds of bills for a long time. We’ve been dealing with them because we’re not answering the problems of the state. The hard decisions are not being made but that is year after year after year, and certainly they’re not being made in this budget, and certainly not being made by this governor, in all due respect.”
Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman:
“We are in the fifth year of Governor Christie’s budget proposals and budget cycles. And I remind everyone, the budget that arrived here this year, which is the governor’s budget — which is now multiple years of this governor’s budget, and multiple years of optimistic budget projection speeches and multiple years of discussions about comebacks and successes — that it’s this budget that has failed.
“It’s the governor’s budget that has failed.
“So, we stand at a point in time where we have to, as any business would, recognize that we have obligations and we have to meet those obligations.”
Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“We have a packet of bills here that are designed to get us out of this fiscal hole. We’ve waited to see any ideas from the… my colleagues on the other side, when it comes to resolving this dilemma that we’re in.
“The governor has put forth some unrealistic fiscal forecasts, constantly, and we find ourselves in this situation again for the fifth time.”
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson):
“I am fond of and have great respect for Assemblyman Bucco and I share his sympathy for his friend who starred in the anecdote, who saved $1 million by moving across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania.
“I can tell ya, that of the 530,000 New Jersey taxpayers who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in fiscal year 2011, the hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who will be aided by the increase in the EITC being accomplished by this bill wish they had a fraction of $1 million to lose.”
“So, I’ll give my own personal challenge to myself and to my colleagues and that is that this will be the last time that I vote for a new tax.
“But there’s a precondition. The Republicans can’t spend any of the money that’s being raised in the taxes that we’re talking about tonight. The 130 tax increases, or however many it’s been… don’t spend that money and don’t spend this money, and I won’t vote for any more taxes.
“But we can’t have it both ways. We can’t use the money that’s being generated by taxes and then lament that it was collected in the first place.”