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(TRENTON) – Sen. Paul A. Sarlo and Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald on Friday said the Joint Budget Oversight Committee will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to consider Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to borrow transportation funding without voter approval.
The meeting comes after the governor’s Friday decision to suspend state-funded transportation construction projects effective Monday.
The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 3, State House Annex, West State Street, Trenton.
The committee will consider Christie’s proposal to refinance sell up to $1.25 billion in bonds and refinance up to $500 million without voter approval. The Democratic Legislature has been analyzing Christie’s plan, which would only bring $14 million in present value savings over 29 years.
The borrowing plan also comes as Christie failed to propose a long-term solution to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
“Ever since this administration took office, we’ve been told that a long-term plan for funding the TTF is being drafted, is being finalized or is being discussed,” said Sarlo (D-Bergen), the Senate budget chairman. “The Commissioner’s decision to level a threat to lay off workers through a late-day press release rather than by picking up a telephone to discuss this vital matter directly is enough of a signal that administration has no plan.”
“New Jersey voters made it quite clear less than two years ago that they do not want the state borrowing more money without voter approval, yet Gov. Christie is determined to ignore their wishes with this irresponsible borrowing scheme,” said Greenwald (D-Camden), the Assembly budget chairman. “A real leader would propose a long-term solution to our Transportation Trust Fund, not threaten New Jersey’s public safety and economic development.”
The lawmakers said the joint committee would call on Transportation Commissioner James Simpson and Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff to testify and answer questions.
“The committee looks forward to hearing from the administration on how it could possibly defend the reckless course upon which they’ve put New Jersey while failing miserably in their responsibility to plan for New Jersey’s future,” Greenwald said.
“The joint committee’s serious concern about the state simply continuing to borrow to pay for current projects should be discussed face-to-face in an open forum, something the commissioner has not done – not white-washed by an apocalyptic Friday afternoon missive,” Sarlo said.