TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer) issued the following statement prior to voting against Governor Christie’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 due to the state’s failure to meet its obligations, particularly to low and middle income families:
“You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. This budget is a nightmare on State Street. It eliminates the aid that compensates the city of Trenton, our capitol city, for 213 state-owned properties that do not pay taxes. The Mayor-elect already indicated that he’s going to have to lay off roughly 40 percent of the city’s police force and roughly one-third of its firefighters to compensate for this loss in aid.
“I was brought up being taught that when money comes into the household, the first thing you pay is your rent. What do you think happens to our constituents when they can’t pay their mortgage or their taxes? They lose their homes and are put out on the street. But we’re sitting here today neglecting our obligations to pay our rent, to pay for the space we occupy.
“This budget is being balanced with smoke and mirrors based on the premise that we’ve eliminated an $11 billion deficit without raising taxes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All of our constituents are paying increased taxes. The state may not be paying their taxes, but our constituents are.
“This is old fashioned ‘trickle-down economics.’ The people on the bottom are the ones paying the most. That’s not shared sacrifice. We need to look at ourselves and make sure we’re meeting our obligations. We cannot say we’re balancing the budget if we’re not paying our bills.
“Our public education system is being short-changed by nearly a billion dollars. Our towns are losing out on roughly half a billion dollars. The pension fund is receiving zero. And our capitol city – our one and only capitol city – is stuck with a delinquent tenant that it can’t evict.
“This budget is not eradicating a deficit, it’s perpetrating a fraud.”
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