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Prieto: Budget Debate Must be Based on Reality Amid Many Unmet Needs for Most Vulnerable

(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) released the following statement Tuesday following the Assembly Budget Committee’s first public hearing on the governor’s budget proposal:

“I want to thank everyone who testified at today’s budget public hearing for their invaluable thoughts and opinions. The input is most welcome and will go a long way toward helping us devise a final plan.

“One theme that emerged today was that the needs of many vulnerable New Jerseyans are going unmet. Whether its mental health and addiction services, access to quality health care, cancer research, housing for our most vulnerable or adequate hospital funding, many serious concerns remain unresolved.

“The state budget certainly cannot solve all problems, but these unmet needs are a difficult reality, especially for so many middle-class and poor residents struggling to get by under nearly 10 percent unemployment and a net 20 percent property tax hike.

“With this concern in mind, I hope our upcoming budget debate is based more on reality than political talking points, because everything is not peachy.”