Essex County Budget Town Hall Provided Real Input From Local Officials
NEWARK – A group of Essex County legislators today met with county mayors, school superintendents and members of various community organizations to gather input on the real effects that Governor Christie�s proposed FY 2011 budget would have on Essex County residents. The meeting was held at Essex County College’s Newark Campus.
“These proposed cuts are not just numbers, they represent services and programs that would be denied our residents if Governor Christie’s budget is passed,” said Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Newark, who organized the town hall meeting. “Rebates would be delayed and or eliminated, schools would lose landmark funding amounts, and the pain would just go on and on. It is imperative that we find ways to ease the burden on taxpayers, and help prevent the inevitable tax increases that would be brought on by Governor Christie’s budget. We are in this budget fight together, and I am determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to deliver a responsible budget, that won�t rob residents of the ability to make ends meet.”
�The budget process is never easy,� said Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Newark, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, and also serves on the Budget and Appropriations Panel. �Make no mistake, there will be struggles ahead. As legislators, it is our job to make the tough decisions that will preserve as many necessary services as possible for New Jersey taxpayers. These important decisions will take cooperation and compromise to design a blueprint for success for towns throughout the State.�
�I�ve been following the budget process very closely, and I have expressed grave concerns about the cuts to school funding,� said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, D-27. As discussions move forward, it becomes more obvious that there is no one in our state who is not going to feel the pain of this year�s budget. We have a crisis, but from the testimony that I heard today, I am reminded of our responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and to be voice for the voiceless.�
The testimony ranged from concern over potential cuts to Urban Enterprise Zones, to explanations of the harmful effects of significant cuts to Family Care funding. Attendees also volunteered ideas for potential budget cuts.
The legislators agreed that a true partnership is needed between local officials and legislators, to ensure that the programs and services that can be preserved with reasonable funding levels are saved.