Says Democratic Budget Represents Rational Course for State, Without Ignoring the Needs of the Most Vulnerable
TRENTON – Former Governor Richard J. Codey said today that the Democratic Budget proposal for FY 2013 represents a rational course for the State, ensuring that New Jersey has a healthy surplus, flexibility to address future budget shortfalls, and support for New Jersey’s most vulnerable.
“The Democratic Budget proposal puts New Jersey on a good fiscal footing, making sure that we honor our obligation to look out for the most vulnerable while still creating a responsible surplus to address future budget needs,” said Senator Codey. “This budget is in stark contrast to the Governor’s proposed budget, in which we were going to have to rely on one-shot gimmicks to fund the largest spending increase of any state in the nation. Thankfully, we’ve developed a more rational alternative.”
Senator Codey said that the Democratic Budget proposal reduces spending by $62 million, while still restoring programs for the working poor, such as the earned income tax credit, the NJ After 3 after-school program, the Educational Opportunity Fund to give economically-disadvantaged students access to higher education and funding for legal services for people with qualifying low incomes. He added that the final bill will also increase funding for cancer screening and detection and for the State Commission on Cancer Research, as well as increase funding for nursing homes, medical day care programs, skilled nurses and transportation assistance for seniors and the disabled. Finally, the bill restores funding for subsidized child care for low-income families and the CASA program to advocate for abused and neglected children in court.
“This is about our priorities as a State,” said Senator Codey. “The programs we’ve chosen to restore affect seniors living in nursing homes, they affect disadvantaged kids seeking access to a better education, and they give poor people and abused children a voice in the courtroom. The fact that we’ve been able to increase funding for these programs, while still decreasing the State’s bottom line, is a huge win for the people of New Jersey.”
Senator Codey added that he was given assurances by Senate President Steve Sweeney that the Legislature would reexamine the budget if it looks like the Governor’s projected revenues won’t meet their mark. In the Democratic Budget for FY 2013, Democrats have increased the size of the State surplus by $183 million, putting money in reserve to cut middle-class property taxes if the budget can support it.
“I have concerns about the Governor’s projected revenues, but as someone with experience in the matter, I know that only the Governor can certify revenues,” said Senator Codey. “At the end of the day, though, if the Governor’s revenue projections don’t match up to reality, we have to come back and address those shortfalls. That’s what responsible government does.”
The Senate is scheduled to meet on Monday at noon to vote on the Democrats’ proposed budget.