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Assembly Budget Committee Member Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) delivered the following statement on the FY 2012 democratic budget:

“This budget document is a living, breathing reflection of our priorities. It defines who we are as a state and what we stand for. At the end of the day, it codifies our values into law.

“Because of that, it should be a budget that we can all hold our head up high and vote for, knowing we made the right decisions despite our fiscal limitations.

“This is about making sure that urban and suburban schools alike have the funding they need so that none of our children become the casualty of misplaced priorities. This is about protecting the working poor before further enriching the wealthiest one percent in our state.

“This is about standing up for seniors, rather than holding their property tax relief hostage to arbitrary demands. This is about making sure blind children have the tools they need to get ahead in life.

“This is about providing the resources to put enough cops on the street and properly protect public safety. This is about making sure that access to health care is a right, and not a privilege, for working mothers, children and our neediest families.

“This is about standing up and fighting for what we believe in, rather than hiding behind the cloak of a fiscal crisis to decimate services for those who need it the most, while asking little in return from those who have it all. This is a budget based on the democratic principles of standing up for working and middle class families, for seniors, for children, for the police officers that risk their lives every day.

“This, my friends, is a budget that truly reflects the notion of shared sacrifice. Because of that, I am proud to cast my vote in favor of this budget so that, at the end of the day, we can all say, despite these tough times, we didn’t lose sight of our values and we fought for what was right,” said Pou.