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Speaker Prieto Statement on Lack of Pension Amendment & Transportation Funding Action

‘Commitments Should Have Been Kept’
‘I Continue to Find This Stalemate Unacceptable’

(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) released the following statement on Tuesday:

“I’m very disappointed that the Senate president did not post for a vote the resolution to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this year to ask voters whether the state should be required to make its annual pension payments. It was time for voters to have their say.
“I’m also very disappointed at the lack of progress on resolving the Transportation Trust Fund crisis. The Assembly continues to wait for the Senate to take action.
“After the 2011 reforms, employees lived up to their obligations, but the administration did not, leading to credit rating downgrades and more distrust in government. That’s why I posted the bill and the Assembly passed the amendment, and it’s why I’m disheartened the question won’t go to the voters this year. Commitments should have been kept.
“The ballot question was the fiscally responsible approach, and I believe voters make wise decisions once they hear all of the arguments. This should have never been linked to the Transportation Trust Fund, and while I am concerned that voters won’t decide whether to mandate guaranteed pension payments, I remain committed to doing everything I can to get New Jersey back on a firm fiscal foundation.
“As for the Transportation Trust Fund, no one has made resolving this crisis more of a priority. I was talking about the difficult but necessary need for a gas tax increase before anyone else. Various proposals – including one approved by the Assembly – have failed to advance, and I continue to find this stalemate unacceptable.
“Statements predicting this crisis won’t be resolved until after the November elections are unproductive, as are attempts to blame others to distract from their own lack of action.
“This needs to get resolved now. It’s time for the governor and the legislative leaders from both parties to sit together in the same room to finally once and for all resolve this crisis. People’s livelihoods and New Jersey’s economy are at risk, and the fact that this state has gone into mid-August without a transportation funding plan is appalling. “