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Buono Statement On Fy 2011 Appropriations Act

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement prior to voting against Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2011 Appropriations Act, citing the poor choices that this year’s budget is built upon:

“Choices – we all face them. But what if the choice we were faced with was between paying for increased commuting costs to get to work or paying for child care?

“The Governor’s got the right idea when it comes to cutting, he just made the wrong choices and the people of New Jersey are already beginning to experience the fallout. We cannot allow that to go unchallenged.

“Drowned out by the very public battle over education is one simple reality and that is that education is not about the Governor; it’s not about the Legislature; and it’s not about the teachers’ union. Education is about the kids and the men and women who teach them. Contrary to what we may have heard during this battle, most teachers work long hours, take work home with them, and many dip into their own pockets to pay for some of their supplies.

“But nearly drowned out by the very public battle over education is this budget’s staggering disinvestment in public education by nearly a billion dollars. While this budget chooses to slash funding for education, at the same time it gives a blank check to the New Jersey Sports Authority so the taxpayers can subsidize both its debt and operating expenses without any legislative oversight. We’re talking about the same agency whose finances are closely guarded and indecipherable; the same agency whose debt and operating deficit totals in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Wrong choices.

“This budget is no holiday for the working men and women who take the bus and train to work every day. This budget has chosen to increase commuting costs by raising fares and reducing service. So if you’re a resident who takes public transportation to get to work, that means you could pay up to $1,000 more per year for a monthly train pass. This budget is no picnic for commuters, but it’s a holiday in July for millionaires. Wrong choices.

“Instead of restoring senior rebates, this budget chooses to benefit millionaires by giving them a tax break. This budget is built on the wrong choices, the wrong priorities, and short-term solutions with long-term costs. The choices we make in this building will have long-term consequences and will define our character as a state well into the future.”

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