Buono Statement On Public Budget Hearing At Montclair University

MONTCLAIR UNIVERSITY – Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, and Chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the public hearing held at Montclair University on Governor Corzine’s proposed FY 2010 Budget:

“Today’s hearing was incredibly useful in getting insight from the people who will be directly impacted by the cuts proposed in the FY 2010 State Budget. While we have a constitutional responsibility to produce a balanced budget, we also have a moral responsibility to produce a fair budget, which does as much as possible to minimize fiscal pain for New Jersey’s residents.

“Though we want to make sure that worthy programs like NJ After 3, arts funding, support programs for New Jerseyans living with disabilities, and others serving Garden State residents receive an adequate level of funding, we have to recognize that we face some of the toughest economic times in modern State history. Revenues are projected to fall to levels we haven’t seen in four years, while mandated spending continues to climb. It’s going to be a Herculean effort to preserve our most sacred State priorities, let alone programs that have been expanded in the last few years when revenues were higher.

“As we begin to take a microscope to Governor Corzine’s spending plan, I know that the Budget Committee will take into consideration the concerns we heard today, and if we can find the funds to restore some of the cuts that hurt people the most, we will do what we can. However, as we continue to face the effects of a global economic crisis, we may have to accept some of these cuts as an unfortunate sign of the times.”