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Sarlo: ‘Devastated’ Bergen County Perfect Host For Budget Committee’s First Public Hearing

Senate Panel To Open Review Process Tuesday At Bergen Community College in Paramus

TRENTON – Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) today said that while the committee chose Bergen Community College to host its first public hearing prior to Governor Christie’s Tuesday budget address, the selection was made even more appropriate given the county’s dire prospects under the proposed plan.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold its public hearing 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 23, in the Moses Training Room, Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus.

“If this budget were to be implemented right now, Bergen County would be left utterly devastated,” said Sarlo. “I certainly understand and appreciate the immense fiscal constraints facing the state, but this budget would lead to huge class sizes in our schools as a result of teacher layoffs, fewer local services for residents and higher property taxes for everyone. Everyone has a stake in this budget, and their concerns must be heard.”

Sarlo noted that Bergen County’s schools will experience an average state aid loss of 41 percent, with 27 districts having their aid eliminated entirely. Most municipalities across the county would lose in excess of 20 percent of their aid — a more than $20 million loss to Bergen County taxpayers.

The Senator also noted that while no mention was made in the budget address, budget documents disclosed the Governor’s intention to overturn Bergen County’s Blue Law. That proposal already has drawn bipartisan opposition from local officials across the county.

“The budget is a document that has a direct impact on New Jersey’s quality of life,” said Sarlo. “As we begin taking stock of what this budget will mean for the state, it makes perfect sense to start in the county that’s on the hook to sacrifice way more than its share.”

Sarlo said the panel will spend its entire day, if necessary, to ensure all residents have the opportunity to be heard.

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