Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement Friday on Gov. Christie’s line-item state budget vetoes:
“Democrats sent the governor a budget that made everyday New Jersey residents who are working hard to make ends meet the priority. The governor asked the legislature to trust him to sign the budget, and in a move that comes as no surprise to some of us, he has broken that trust.
“Among the very cruelest of all the budget vetoes are those that will have a negative effect on the youngest, most vulnerable New Jerseyans.
“As the sponsor of multiple bills aimed at limiting children’s exposure to lead – which we know causes brain damage, behavioral problems, seizures and even death, in some cases – it’s disheartening to see that the governor eliminated directives to guarantee that communities with the most need would receive funding for lead testing. If we have evidence that children in Trenton and other specific communities are in greater danger of exposure to lead than children in other areas of the state, why not ensure that funding is directed to help protect the children in those affected communities?
“Furthermore, by vetoing a repeal of the WorkFirst NJ family cap, Gov. Christie hurt poor mothers, and even worse, he hurt poor children. The governor cannot proudly proclaim that he is ‘pro-life for the whole life’ when it comes to drug addiction and at the same time deny basic assistance to children born to poor mothers in New Jersey. The long-term effects this will have on low-income families in our state are undeniable and likely will cost more than it would have to repeal the cap.
“Finally, the governor’s veto of a restoration to the ‘Heat and Eat’ program means that children in New Jersey will continue to lack access to healthy meals on a regular basis. That the governor rejected this opportunity to help some of the 400,000 hungry children in our state is an utter disgrace.
“Our state had a chance to do better with this budget. Sadly, our governor squandered that chance.”