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Codey: Governor Has To Proceed Carefully With Mid-Year Cuts

Lawmaker Says Some Proposals May Worsen Local Budget Problems

TRENTON – Senator Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, issued the following statement today regarding Governor Chris Christie’s proposed mid-year budget cuts to account for a more-than-$2 billion State Budget deficit in the current fiscal year:

“As a former Governor, I know firsthand that the position carries some very difficult decisions in order to balance the needs of New Jersey’s residents with the fiscal realities facing the State Treasury.

“I firmly believe that the Governor and leaders in the State Legislature are right about shoring up the State’s pension funds and making benefits sustainable for current and future employees and the taxpayers who foot the bill. New Jersey has a responsibility to provide a stable retirement system and honest benefits for our dedicated public workforce, and without some level of reform, that won’t happen, and the funds will continue to operate in the deep red.

“However, I’d caution that the Governor should explore the ramifications of all budget cuts before moving forward.

“Sometimes cuts have unintended consequences. For instance, requiring school districts to tap into surplus funds may result in a drop in their bond rating, triggering new mandated expenses and higher interest on previously-negotiated loans. This in turn could have a negative impact on the school’s operating budget, causing an increase in local property taxes.

“When it comes down to it, there are no silver bullets to make up for multi-billion dollar deficits. It requires tough choices, conviction of leadership, and a little bit of foresight to understand how your choices will affect people trying to make a living in the Garden State. I look forward to reviewing the cuts proposed by the Governor some more, and working with him where I can to minimize the impact on New Jersey’s working families who can understand tough choices, but cannot afford mistakes.”