(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex), Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union) and Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) issued a multimedia package Tuesday in response to Governor Chris Christie’s FY 2012 Budget Address.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the legislators responding to the governor’s budget proposal, audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex):
“We’ve just heard the governor present his budget proposal to the Legislature and while I commend the governor for paying attention to issues that are of concern to New Jerseyans, the two top issues have not been addressed in this budget.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union):
“It doesn’t actually deal with the structural deficit; it doesn’t actually deal with the most important person in New Jersey – the property taxpayer.
“It’s a value set difference between Democrats and this governor in terms of who we’re fighting for.
“This budget, once again, does not provide any real property tax relief. Last year, we saw the governor cut over $2.3 billion in direct property tax relief. This year, through a little bit of his spin, he’s going to say that he gave back $250 million of it, leaving the property taxpayer in this state $2 billion in the hole.
“We saw last year, property taxes increased seven percent and, despite the governor’s rhetoric, we’re very concerned about where it goes from there.”
Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden), Assembly Budget Committee Chairman:
“But when it comes to New Jersey’s taxpayers, that’s where, again, I think the governor misses the mark.
“His sense of need of ownership of issues is so important that he took corporate business tax bills that were passed with almost unanimous bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature and literally erased the names of the legislators. And, instead of working with us to address some of his minor concerns, he’s reintroducing that package of bills in a way that he can put his name on it.
“Here’s the selfish side of that: it delays the benefits and the opportunities for small businesses and that delay will continue to slow men and women in New Jersey who are out of work, and have been out of work, to go back onto the workforce.”
“And we have continued to see the proliferation of the reduction of school aid. The governor’s budget proposes to provide one percent restorations to districts who had their budgets cut from five to 14 percent last year.
“And we know that holding municipal aid flat; by reducing down transitional aid to the big cities; and proposing to significantly reduce Medicaid spending are things that will be born on the backs of low and middle income citizens in this state.
“We have a lot to do in terms of vetting the specifics. While globally the governor painted a rosy picture, we all know that the devil is in the details. Over the next several weeks, the Assembly Budget Committee will begin to thoroughly review, with a fine-toothed comb, every element of this budget.”