TRENTON – Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, and a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the approval today of the FY 2009 Budget:
“Today, the Senate approved the FY 2009 Budget, and made a strong statement about the State’s priorities, even in tough economic times.
“There’s no doubt that the budget proposed by Governor Corzine in February was the definition of the word austere. We had to face the consequences of years of living beyond our means, and we needed to set the framework for putting the State of New Jersey back on a strong fiscal footing.
“Over the course of six months, the budget committee worked diligently on the initial proposal, and amended the spending plan to ensure funding for our State’s most critical needs.
“Personally, I’m most proud of the fact that we’re providing $2.5 billion for the construction, update and replacement of dilapidated schools in our State’s urban core communities.
“In Newark, our students learn in outdated and obsolete school buildings. More than half of our schools were built in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Our oldest school was built nearly two decades before the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Kids are educated in overcrowded, antiquated buildings were hallways are often used as classrooms.
“Though it would have been easy to continue ignoring the plight of students in Newark and around the State, the State Legislature found the courage to provide a funding source for much-needed repairs and new construction.
“As we continue to address the long-term fiscal needs of New Jersey, I can only hope that we maintain the same sort of courage to do what’s right for the citizens we represent.”