(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen) released the following statement Wednesday after the committee heard from the state treasurer on the $807 million Christie administration budget shortfall:
“I appreciate the state treasurer discussing the $807 million Christie budget shortfall today, but am disappointed he did not offer solutions. We only have seven weeks to go before the end of the fiscal year, and it was my expectation that we would be hearing more than generalized discussion. The administration needs to be forthcoming with solutions now.
“Certainly, the problems we face can be viewed as the result of five years of questionable budget policies and a lack of long-term planning by Gov. Christie. The fiscal problems Gov. Christie has allowed to fester have left New Jersey ill-prepared to handle ups and downs, even as it fails repeatedly to take responsibility for its own budget errors.
“For instance, it was more important than ever to have had a large surplus to allow for cushioning. Certainly this is difficult for all us, but had the administration planned better and had a larger surplus, perhaps we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
“We didn’t hear much today on fixing the shortfall, but the testimony we did hear leads me to fear the governor will be targeting areas important to working class residents. That would be an unfortunate outcome for New Jersey’s middle- and low-income residents already burdened by increasing property taxes and no plan in sight for vital needs such as education, higher education, transportation and open space.”