TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr. today said the transition budget report made to Governor Corzine before he took office can be a starting point for opening a bipartisan dialogue on options for solving long-term fiscal problems.
“Everyone in the Legislature knows we face an extremely difficult fiscal road ahead of us. These recommendations include options which would be subject to lengthy public discussions.
“No one likes higher taxes, but we are near gridlock after more than 15 years of statewide tax phobia. My position in support of a gasoline tax increase to support the Transportation Trust Fund is by no means a given within the Senate Democratic Caucus. But I will discuss it within my caucus in the context of various long-term revenue needs.
“It’s wrong to suggest that the report means we would rush out and raise taxes. Hopefully, these recommendations can form the basis of a meaningful dialogue, devoid of the usual partisan rhetoric. It appears to include many painful spending cuts along with options for additional revenues.
“It’s premature to decide on the report now, but it’s not too soon to start talking about it among ourselves and with our constituents and to knock off the pandering.”