(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) released the following statement on the passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 State Budget by the Assembly and Senate on Thursday:
“The Legislature has put forward a budget that looks far different than proposed in February. A global pandemic has devastated our state and our economy. The road to recovery has and continues to be long and strenuous.
“Given these challenges, the Legislature has recommitted itself to our core responsibilities of protecting families and the most vulnerable, stabilizing local governments and stimulating our economy.
“To do so, we could not solely tax or cut our way back to prosperity. Together with the Governor and the Senate we put together a balanced plan that cut nearly a billion in spending, asked the wealthiest among us to share in the sacrifice and made the difficult decision to borrow.
“The decision to borrow $4.5 billion and build a $2.5 billion surplus is an absolute necessity to buffer against an inevitable second wave and prepare ourselves for an expeditious and full recovery.
“Our budget delivers for our seniors and working-class families by fully funding the Senior Freeze and Homestead Rebate programs. Our schools and municipalities are receiving the same funding level as last year. Together, we made significant investments in hunger relief, anti-poverty and health programs to continue helping struggling families through this crisis. Working, middle class families will receive tangible relief in the form of a $500 rebate next summer. We once again fully fund our Transportation Trust Fund by infusing $2 billion into our transportation infrastructure. We earmarked $100 million for small business grants. This budget demonstrates our commitment to every New Jerseyan.”