(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman John F. McKeon (D-Essex), Assembly Education Committee Vice-Chairman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex) and Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Passaic) issued a multimedia package Thursday on the Assembly passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Democratic budget plan for New Jersey.
The plan, which passed 47 to 31 would fully fund the legally required pension payment, restore the Earned Income Tax Credit and invest in higher education, healthcare, social services, schools and cities.
The multimedia package consists of commentary from the Speaker and the aforementioned Democratic Budget Committee members discussing various facets of the Democratic budget and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of the members discussing the FY 2016 Democratic Budget plan is appended at the end of this release.
The $35.3 billion plan includes a $3.1 billion pension payment funded in part through an increase in the “millionaire’s tax” to 10.75 percent and a one year increase in the effective corporate income tax of 1.35 percent.
It protects the most vulnerable by helping victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled and senior citizens, among others. It provides for full restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit to 25 percent of the federal level, which will put several hundred dollars more into the pockets of the working poor, the legislators said.
The Democratic budget plan also invests an additional $50 million into New Jersey’s higher education system, including support for science and technology and restoration of the Educational Opportunity Fund to help make college a reality for those who can least afford rising costs.
The FY2016 Democratic Budget
- Fully funds the 5/7 FY 2016 Pension Payment — $3.1 billion;
- Adds $1.8 billion to Governor’s proposed pension contribution of $1.3 billion; and
- The FY 2015 Supplemental Appropriation bill would make a $300 million down payment toward the FY 2016 contribution now.
Revenues and Resources
- Millionaire’s Tax — the increase will ONLY impact income OVER $1 Million — Revenue of $688 million;
- A one year increase in the effective corporate income tax of 1.35 percent – Revenue of $435 million;
- FY 2015 revenues provide an additional $300 million, according to the OLS;
- FY 2016 revenue projections would be increased to reflect revised OLS analysis of $425 million;
- Federal fringe benefit reimbursement of $160 million; and
- Various cuts of approximately $60 million to Governor’s proposed FY 2016 Budget.
Investing in Higher Education
- $20 Million for Seton Hall/Hackensack Medical School;
- $10 Million for Montclair State Communications Building;
- $10 Million for NJIT/Rowan school of medicine expansion;
- $2.5 Million more for EOF;
- $2.5 Million more for senior public universities;
- $2.3 million to create parity among State Supported FTE among Research Universities (Rowan);
- $1.2 million for Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering; and
- $500,000 more for Independent Colleges.
Investing in K-12 Education
- $20 million for High Enrollment/Decreasing Ratable School Districts;
- $5.2 million for non-publics Security, Nursing, Tech;
- $4 million for Adult Education at Vo-Techs;
- $3 million for County Vocational Partnerships;
- $2 million for Technology and Professional Dev;
- $1.5 million federal funding for Learning Ally;
- $1 million to address the Achievement Gap;
- $550k for Pinelands growth aid (EHT); and
- $435k for AP exam fee waivers for F/R/L Students.
Protecting Our Most Vulnerable
- $8 million for Veteran’s Access to Care;
- $5 million for Sheltered Workshops;
- $3 million for Community Service Waiting list placements;
- $2.5 million for Family Support Services;
- $850,000 to CASA;
- $400k for Holocaust Survivors; and
- $200k for Adler Aphasia.
- $7.5 million for Family Planning Services;
- $2.2 million for Domestic Violence and Rape Prevention;
- $2.8 million for NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and
- $100k for Project SARAH.
Healthcare and Wellness
- $5.25 million for Nursing Homes/SCNFs;
- $5 million for Holy Name Hospital for statewide palliative care model program;
- $3 million increase in Personal needs allowance;
- $2.4 million for Child Collaborative Mental Health Pilot Program;
- $1 million for Cancer Research;
- $1 million for Huntington Disease beds;
- $750k Trauma Registry;
- $250,000 Housing First Pilot Program;
- $250,000 for Board of Nursing – fix backlog;
- $200k for Elder Index; and
- $137,000 increase PCA to $18 an hour.
- $24.1 million UEZ restoration;
- $9.2 million county jail initiative for re-entry programs;
- $4 million urban county transportation funding;
- $550k to “unfreeze” ALJ salaries;
- $308k NJTV equipment purchases for service expansion;
- $250k increase for SBDC; and
- $100k for local government internet access expansion.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson):
“In this budget that you see here today, it’s a budget about priorities. And being the former budget chairman, I can tell you, budgeting is about priorities. And these are Democratic beliefs and ideas that we want to make sure that we help the working class of the State of New Jersey.”
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Budget Committee Chair:
“Well, I think the budget bill, as amended by both the Assembly and the Senate, has taken a noticeably different path than the governor’s original proposal. Number one, we have fully funded the pension.”
Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair:
“This budget makes the payment. Where the governor said it couldn’t be done, this is the second year in a row that we demonstrated, in fact, it could be done. Because, anyone sitting at home watching this knows, when a bill comes due, you have to pay it. We have an obligation. This budget delivers on the promise made to make the pension payment.”
Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex), Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair:
“At the end of the day, regardless of your political persuasion, this state has an obligation to those who are public employees, not only just to celebrate their service, but to meet our obligations.”
Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Assembly Education Committee Vice-Chair:
“I think this budget underscores our responsibility to adhere to the fiscal challenges we have in this state. We have obligations, we have bills to pay and, quite honestly, this budget recognizes that and does it. As I was often taught, you don’t always get to live your dreams, but you have to live your responsibilities.”
“And number two, we have made higher education into a priority: funding of two different medical schools, which are desperately needed in the state; additional funds for Montclair, for Rowan, for a number of other institutions. It’s a great step forward.”
Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-Essex):
“We’ve spoken plenty of times how education not only leads to economic development and growth but it’s obviously one of the big drivers that we have in this state, and I think that if you see our budget on the Democratic side, you’ll see some increases on higher ed learning. So, that’s going to be a huge drive, not only for the children of this state, but obviously with economic development and construction and moving forward.”
Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Passaic):
“One area that we are positive, and I believe it’s at $19.7 million for increased funding for issues in the City of Paterson. With that funding you’ll be able to save a bunch of jobs in the City of Paterson, such as after school programs, SAT prep, credit recovery programs, programs that involve athletics, programs that involved summer activities that will enhance academic opportunities and the future of our students here in the State of New Jersey.”
“One other priority that’s very important is women’s health. It’s something that I think it’s important that we need to be funding it. We need to make sure that they’re getting their screenings. And prevention and wellness is important, so we need to fund this.”
“And that’s a big issue, you know, you’re talking about over 35,000 residents that have lost access to some of these centers, and it’s a constant issue when you have urban areas, specifically, that have a huge issue with family planning. And some of these women, these centers were the only way that they could have certain checks and procedures done.”
“The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which the governor cut a number of years ago. We took a look at that because, you know, when the governor cut the EITC, he essentially raised the income tax for the lowest earners on the scale. We have gone back now and rectified that.”
“In this budget, we have funding for UEZs, something that has been taken away 100 percent; we’re putting back 30 percent of it that now it allows this money to be invested in these areas that were blighted areas that now have become economic engines for these urban areas, and it’s very important for be able to upkeep them for public safety, sanitation. So, we want to make sure we invest in our communities to get money back.
“So, this budget is a good budget, it’s a great Democratic budget that it’s different from what the governor had brought to our attention in his proposed budget. I think this one highlights the importance of making sure the working class of the State of New Jersey is protected.”