Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic) on Wednesday called Gov. Christie’s recent executive order freezing transitional aid a ‘double whammy” for struggling cities like Paterson.
“This executive order essentially holds hostage transitional aid and funding for a number of other critical programs until an unelected commission can find a way to save $250 million in public employee health benefits. How long this will take, or even if it can be achieved, remains unknown, meaning cities like Paterson that are already struggling with a school funding crisis will be in peril indefinitely.
“Under Gov. Christie, Paterson taxpayers have seen their property taxes nearly double over the last four years, drastic cuts to school programming and layoffs to police and school personnel. Now, public employees living in Paterson – many of whom are low-wage earners – will have to pay more for health benefits while their municipality will have to raise property taxes again to make up for the Governor’s freezing of state aid.
“This is a double whammy that will create an even bigger burden for them and every resident in this struggling city.
“The Governor needs to open his eyes to the realities of cities like Paterson, Trenton and Camden and work to find a more sensible solution that does not take such a hard line approach.”