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Stress Need to Find Alternative Places to Cut

(TRENTON) — The Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Committee Thursday issued a multimedia package in which they discuss the impact cuts made to the FY 2010 budget by Gov. Chris Christie will have on members of the public and the need to find other cuts.

The multimedia package consists of a video on the committee’s hearing, audio of the same and a transcript of statements from Democratic legislators on the panel.

The video can be accessed directly via our Web site — — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.

A transcript of statements from the legislators is appended below:

Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden), Assembly Budget Committee chair:
“This is somewhat out of the ordinary. We usually have these public hearings after the governor’s budget address, but in light of an unusual joint legislative session where the governor announced some of the continuing economic problems that we’ve faced over the course of the last 18 months, we thought it would be productive since there was not any public participation and no legislative participation in the recommended cuts, that we would have this opportunity today.”

Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley (D-Hudson):
“I’m glad that the governor and his counsel finally noticed that they do need legislative approval in order to make these cuts. That’s what the Legislature is for. I hope we’re going to work cooperatively in deciding what cuts need to be made and can be made without hurt and what cuts are just too much.”

Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), Assembly Appropriations Committee chair:
“It’s important for us to understand and hear from the public their concerns and the impact of these budget cuts actually have on their lives and the lives of all the residents of the state of New Jersey.”

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Budget Committee vice-chair:
“I think that the citizens of New Jersey deserve to understand exactly what’s going on and the ends that we hope to achieve and how to do it. Transparency is a great thing. I think having the Legislature involved by having hearings such as those that [we had Wednesday] will encourage that and enhance that.”

Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Middlesex):
“I think we really need to think about what we’re doing. I think we really need to focus on whether or not the cuts are short-sighted and where the cuts are punishing efficiently run towns.”

Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen):
“To cut the budget in a way that will increase property taxes is not the answer. That is not the way to go.”

Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester):
“This pain has got to be shared in an equal way and not disproportionate to the middle-class and people less fortunate.”

Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex):
“We have to work together – Democrats and Republicans, Legislature, governor – and try to establish priorities to protect the middle-class, protect the working class the best we can so we create as little pain as possible.”

“We should be doing everything we can to avert a tax increase of any kind and the most important tax increase that faces the public out there today is anything that impacts their property taxes. We need to avoid that, and that’s got to be where we start.”

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