Sarlo/Weinberg/Gordon To Host Local Forum For Bergen Residents To Weigh-In On Proposed Budget Cuts

District 36, 37, 38 Legislators Hope to Hear First-Hand Impact Governor’s Budget Would Have on Bergen County’s Schools, Seniors

BERGEN COUNTY – Senators Paul Sarlo, Loretta Weinberg and Bob Gordon will host a special forum to provide Bergen County residents with the chance to weigh in on the Governor’s proposed FY 2011 budget cuts and offer solutions to help mitigate the impact on seniors, middle- and low-income residents, municipalities and school districts. The Bergen County People’s Budget Forum will take place on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 from 7-9 pm in the John Greico Auditorium at Bergen Academies, 200 Hackensack Avenue, Hackensack, NJ.

Bergen County has been hit particularly hard by the Governor’s budget proposals with 27 school districts facing an elimination of 100 percent of their school aid and another 10 districts facing the loss of at least 90 percent. In light of this, and many other cuts, the Senators decided to host a forum where residents can gain an in-depth look at the proposals and have their voices heard. In addition to all three Senators, members of Bergen County’s Assembly delegation will also be in attendance, including: Assemblymen Fred Scalera and Gordon Johnson, and Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joan Voss and Connie Wagner.

“The people of New Jersey are rightly concerned about the state’s finances and anxious to understand what this budget will mean to them, their families, their schools and their communities. It is our duty to shine a bright light on the often over-looked items in the budget and gain the feedback necessary to make this budget as fair as possible,” said Senator Sarlo (D-36th District), Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“Seniors, our children’s education, women’s health – all of these things have become endangered under the Governor’s proposed budget. We need to figure out exactly how these proposals will impact everyone’s day-to-day life. This forum will provide the opportunity to gauge this impact as we strive to find more compassionate and equitable alternatives to solve our budget crisis,” said Senator Weinberg (D-37th District).

“The Governor’s notion of ‘shared sacrifices’ clearly doesn’t apply to Bergen County where our school districts are seeing their aid gutted. Parents deserve to know how their children’s education will be impacted by these proposals. It’s our duty to listen and make sure that our constituents’ best interests are being represented,” said Senator Gordon (D-38th District).

In light of the ongoing budget hearings being held in Trenton where advocacy groups and other organizations are given the chance to weigh in, the Senators noted that it is important to provide this forum locally during non-business hours so individual residents have the opportunity to voice their concerns. Therefore, the Senators hope to limit public testimony to residents only, rather than organizations, advocacy groups and other special interests. However, everyone is encouraged to submit written testimony so that their feedback will be heard regardless of whether they cannot or do not wish to speak publicly.

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