TRENTON –Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, made the following statement today after the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee heard final FY09 revenue estimates from State Treasurer David Rousseau:
“We knew even before the Governor’s budget message in February that this year’s budget was going to be tough on the entire state. Today’s new revenue estimates from the Treasurer make our job over the next month even harder as we must look for even further cuts.
“I think that it’s simply wrong to even think about balancing this budget on the backs of the State’s employees. These hardworking men and women are taxpayers themselves and provide essential services to their fellow New Jerseyans every day.
“Layoffs would simply be counterproductive in the current economic climate as we face a deeper recession and slowing job growth. However, I am supportive of the early retirement plan as long as it is implemented logically and minimally affects state services.
“The Governor charged the Legislature with the goal of passing a budget that matched spending to revenues and I have taken that charge to heart as I’ve searched for new revenue sources to minimize the cuts in programs that provide essential services to the people of New Jersey.
“We need to seriously look at selling surplus property and going after those individuals who owe the State more than $2.9 billion dollars. While these efforts will not provide a cure-all to our financial woes, every little bit helps as we look to pass a budget that is not only fiscally responsible, but also compassionate and serves the needs of our residents.”