Carney’s Point – Senate President Steve Sweeney joined with Senator Paul Sarlo, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, for a public hearing on the budget plan for New Jersey for the coming fiscal year. The day-long session by the budget committee, held at Salem Community College, included the participation of more than 70 individuals, groups and organizations who spoke to the needs and priorities for the state’s FY2020 spending plan for the upcoming year.
“Today’s public hearing provided a forum for a broad cross section of individuals and organizations to give voice to the budget priorities that they believe are important to New Jersey,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We have to continue to make the reforms that will allow for investments that address the needs of the people, that make New Jersey a more affordable place to live and that ensure that government operates efficiently and effectively.”
This was the second public hearing by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee as the panel engages in a full review of the spending proposal over the next few months. The schedule includes departmental hearings and presentations on state revenues and economic conditions by the Office of Legislative Services and the State Treasurer.
“It is more important than ever that we find ways to capture savings and reduce costs so that we have the resources to support the state’s immediate and long-term priorities,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen). “We want to make effective investments to expand economic opportunities but, at the same time, we have to hold down costs and be fully aware of the impact on taxpayers.”
The public participants spoke about the need for continued increases in education aid, Pre-K, higher education, the responsible management of the pension system, support for transportation infrastructure, job training programs and services that care for the most vulnerable.
“The Governor’s budget proposal includes some of the cost-saving initiatives that we identified to address the state’s chronic fiscal problems and supports many of our shared priorities,” said Senator Sarlo. “It is now the Legislature’s responsibility to give the proposal a thorough review and put in place a fiscally responsible plan for the upcoming year.”
The budget committee’s next session on Tuesday, April 2, in Trenton, will have the State Treasurer and Office of Legislative Services provide an overview of the budget as well as revenue forecasts.