TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg issued the following statement on action taken today by the governor on a Democratic budget proposal that would have met our state’s obligations while helping the most vulnerable residents:
“We put forward a responsible budget that would have kept our commitment to workers and improved our fiscal standing, while meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable residents. The governor instead decided to give tax breaks to those who can most afford to contribute a little more and to leave our state on shaky fiscal ground. This is disappointing because until we improve our state’s finances and grow our economy we will be unable to afford all of New Jersey’s vital needs.
“But budgets are also about priorities, and Democrats sought to prioritize funding for programs that would benefit those who needed help most. While this budget now includes additional funding for cancer research, financial assistance for low-income students, services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and for abused and neglected children, these are only some of the programs that are necessary to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable populations. The governor slashed important funding for legal services for the poor, family planning and outreach for health care enrollment that would benefit low-income residents and children. And he rejected an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, which serves as a lifeline for the working poor. Sadly, because he refuses to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share, some of our neediest residents will continue to suffer.
“We cannot continue on this path. The governor’s policies of protecting the wealthy and big corporations have resulted in economic conditions that are far worse than other states. In order to fund all of the programs that are important to our residents over the long-term, we have to change course.”