Reaction To Budget Address
Reaction to Governor Christie’s budget address delivered to a joint session of the legislature on Tuesday.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D)
“The Governor’s reckless budget decisions last year have now come back to haunt him and it’s homeowners who will pay the price. His wildly inflated and unrealistic revenue projections for the current fiscal year have not panned out, forcing him to once again delay the delivery of property tax relief.
“Gov. Christie seems to have forgotten how the budget process works. In order for us to sign off on any tax cut, he must first present us with a sound plan to fund such a proposal. With a nearly $500 million deficit right now, it is dishonest for the Governor to portray it in any other light.
“Had Democrats allowed the Governor to go through with his plan last year for tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthy, we would be in an even more precarious fiscal position right now. It’s clear that the prudence and patience we employed was the right move and we intend to employ a similar approach this year.
“In the coming weeks and months we will pore through the Governor’s budget proposal carefully, as we always do, to determine its impact on residents throughout New Jersey, particularly low and middle income families.
“Among the things we will look carefully at is how the Governor intends to fund healthcare for the poorest New Jerseyans, particularly when it comes to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and the appropriation of charity care funding for hospitals that treat the uninsured.
“We will also take a close look at the impact his school and municipal aid funding will have on our children’s education, local property taxpayers and public safety.
“These are all crucial elements that we must address with one hand while keeping the other firmly fixed on addressing the needs of Sandy-ravaged communities,” said Oliver.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union)
Regardless of their political stripes, New Jersey residents are looking for a government that lives within its means, enables private sector job creation, provides an excellent education to all children, and is there to lend a hand when disaster strikes.
Governor Christie’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is focused squarely on these priorities and moving New Jersey forward by getting back to the basics of what taxpayers demand from their government: conservative spending, no tax hikes, increased aid to schools, and a groundbreaking trial program to give children in failing schools a choice to seek a better learning environment.
Unfortunately, the tone set this year by the Democrat leaders in Trenton is straight out of the dysfunctional Washington, D.C. playbook: fabricating controversy over the Governor’s every decision and searching for wedge issues instead of bipartisan compromise.
Republican legislators, by contrast, are standing in the center of the room waiting for our colleagues to come to the table and tackle our state’s many challenges, starting with the budget. Their response will tell whether they are more interested in the next election or the next chapter in New Jersey’s future.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06)
“Expanding Medicaid in New Jersey just makes sense. The expansion of the Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act will save New Jersey billions of dollars that can be spend for other pressing needs in our state. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion will improve the health of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans with the added benefit of extraordinary cost savings.
“I fought hard to make sure this critical expansion of Medicaid was included in the Affordable Care Act and I am pleased to see that New Jersey will see yet another benefit from this landmark legislation come to fruition. Medicaid expansion will not only improve New Jerseyans access to affordable health care, it will improve our economic health as well. With all of New Jersey’s pressing needs right now, it is assuring that this assistance will help us to devote more resources toward building our economy and creating jobs.”
Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony R. Bucco (R- Morris)
The Governor’s budget hits all the right notes for taxpayers: spending at responsible levels without taking more from the citizens and businesses of this state, maintaining our commitment to public education, meeting our obligations to retired workers, and reducing the use of one shot revenue gimmicks.
The Governor’s budget proposal is the type of honest budgeting that middle class families must live by every single day. It is my hope that my Democrat colleagues abandon their crusade to criticize for the sake of criticism and follow this budget’s blueprint for a state that lives within its means.
Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth)
Sandy is not the only challenge New Jersey faces this year, but it is our state’s most important. Rebuilding is vital to our state’s long-term economic health and prosperity, and to the quality of life and financial stability of those who lost so much in the storm.
I applaud Governor Christie’s focus on recovery in today’s budget message. If a budget is a statement of our government’s priorities, this budget and the speech in which it was presented show that rebuilding stronger and smarter than before is priority number one for New Jersey.
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington)
“In his address today, the Governor decried political partisanship while at the same time giving a Republican stump speech that failed to address New Jersey’s sky-high 9.6 percent unemployment rate and property taxes that have increased on his watch.
“The Governor’s approach seems to be you’re bipartisan when you agree with me but a partisan obstructionist when you disagree. New Jersey’s middle-class needs real solutions, not just endless blame games.
“We heard a lot of crowd-pleasing one-liners today. What we didn’t hear were real solutions to our state’s unemployment crisis or the net property tax burden that has increased over 20 percent in the past three years.
“As we have seen before with this Governor, the devil will be in the details. I look forward to taking a hard look at the actual numbers behind this budget, and I hope they address the real challenges New Jersey is facing.
“These challenges are serious and cannot be papered over by mere slogans. Our 9.6 percent unemployment rate is the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation, and we rank 47th in economic growth. Property taxes are soaring, and our foreclosure rate is dismal. Our middle-class is shrinking. Safety net programs that are meant to help struggling families have suffered under the governor’s cuts.
“While Hurricane Sandy exacerbated many of these problems, it did not create them. The people of New Jersey need a responsible budget that invests in job creation and property tax relief in order to get our economy back on track.”
“One thing is clear: middle-class families and senior citizens are counting on us to get this budget right.”
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union, Morris and Somerset)
“Governor Christie outlined a fiscally responsible budget that supports core priorities while not increasing taxes. We are funding educational aid at an historic level and will be making the largest pension payment in state history, while still spending less than the Corzine budget of Fiscal Year 2008. The governor has crafted another sound budget plan that continues to move our state in the right direction by placing taxpayers first.”
Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible (R-Monmouth and Ocean)
“Governor Christie’s proposed budget strikes a necessary balance between funding important priorities, such as educational aid and meeting our pension obligation payment, and keeping taxes under control. For the fourth year, taxpayers are seeing that fiscal responsibility remains a top priority for Governor Christie. For many years, New Jersey’s taxpayers were delivered spending spree budgets that paved the way for our state having the highest property taxes in the country. Under Governor Christie, government is focused on running efficiently while continuing to provide and fund essential services.”
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth
“This is a responsible budget that will keep New Jersey moving forward while we rebuild our communities that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
“This budget invests in education and pays down debt at the highest levels ever in our state’s history. After we saved taxpayers $120 billion from historic public employee benefits reform, Governor Christie has now invested more in the pension system than the last four governors combined.
“The communities in my district can look forward to additional funding for school districts operating under adequacy. I have been fighting for fairer funding of districts like Freehold Borough and I’m glad to see we have begun to move in a better direction.
“We have made some hard choices over the last few years to reform our fiscal house and those efforts have enabled New Jersey to withstand the worst natural disaster in state history and put us in a position to grow the economy, create jobs and make our state more affordable.”
New Jersey Working Families Alliance executive director and Better Choices for New Jersey Coordinator Bill Holland
“The Governor’s budget offers more of the same: tax cuts for corporations while working families pay more, get less, and look for jobs that just aren’t there. Nothing the Governor laid out in that speech will create the jobs New Jersey desperately needs, speed up the state’s economic recovery or address our foreclosure crisis. We’re glad to see that he will join eight Republican governors in accepting federal funding for an expansion of Medicaid. However, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations have weakened the state’s ability to provide a strong safety net, respond to disasters or boost employment for New Jersey’s middle-class and working poor. The Better Choices for New Jersey campaign will continue to fight for common sense revenue options that can help the state invest in its highly trained work force, restore funding to pro-employment programs and finally get New Jersey back to work again.”