TRENTON � Senator Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic), vice chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee issued the following statement on Gov. Jon S. Corzine�s budget message today:
�This budget message illustrates two important points � that we are in an economic crisis like most of us have never seen before and that the tough choices this Governor and Legislature have made in the past have positioned us to be able to better get through it. We have a head start on states that have not taken some of the steps we have already.
�We�ve been devoting more money to property tax relief. We�ve steered away from short-sighted gimmicks. We�ve stopped doing irresponsible things, like raiding the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to pay for ongoing state expenditures. In fact, last year, we put more than a quarter of a billion dollars into that fund to stave off an automatic tax increase on employers.
�None of that makes it any easier to accept the many hard choices that await us. Worthy programs and services that deserve to be funded may not get the funding they have become accustomed to. But you don�t need too much of an imagination to wonder just how much worse it could be for New Jersey right now had we not made some of the hard decisions we did.
�The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will now begin a methodical and detailed examination of state spending and come up with a plan that continues to fund our most important programs and deals fairly with all of our citizens.�