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(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, Majority Leader Joseph Cryan and Budget Chairman Louis D. Greenwald on Thursday said the state budget plan set to introduced by Gov. Chris Christie must retain property tax relief and access to quality health care.
The Assembly Democratic leaders said New Jerseyans cannot undergo another year of Christie property tax increases and health care cuts. They noted how property taxes increased 7 percent last year under Christie’s budget.
Christie is set to unveil his budget plan at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Oliver, Cryan and Greenwald said they want the budget plan to at the very least:
· Maintain municipal aid at this fiscal year’s level to help control property taxes.
· Ensure no school district sees less state aid than the current fiscal year to help control property taxes and avoid further curriculum cuts.
· Maintain access to health care for the middle-class and the poor by properly funding the health care safety net and keeping hospitals and health centers open.
“The governor cannot present another budget that places the heaviest burden on the backs of working class New Jerseyans,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “New Jersey’s middle-class and poor are still reeling from Gov. Christie’s property tax increases and health care cuts. We have to control spending, but working class families must be our priority.”
“Gov. Christie once said taking away property tax relief from people in a difficult economy was the wrong decision and an assault on the middle-class, ” said Cryan (D-Union). “We couldn’t agree more, but we hope Gov. Christie follows his own advice this time. We want property tax relief and access to quality health care to be a focal point.”
“Under Gov. Christie, working class residents aren’t just paying more in property taxes and getting less, but they’re also now paying a Christie school activity tax just so their children can join valuable after-school activities,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “The governor must do better, and that must start with a budget plan that meets the needs of our working class residents and avoids more property tax increases and health care cuts. We look forward to working cooperatively with the governor to accomplish these goals.”