Lawmaker Says She’s Disappointed, but Will Fight for Override
TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and sponsor of S-2139, legislation restoring $7.5 million in funds which were cut from the FY 2011 State Budget for women’s health and family planning programs, issued the following statement today after the Governor vetoed the bill:
“It’s a sad day when the Governor of the State of New Jersey decides to put political ideology ahead of the health and safety of women and men across the Garden State.
“The Governor has perpetuated a myth that this decision has to do with budget choices.
“However, when pressed, he was able to find $65 million in funds which were squirreled away in the budget to maintain Bergen County’s blue laws. He did so by revising tax collection revenues. No new funding source, just a prediction that more money will magically fall into our laps.
“He was able to find $5 million at the last minute to secure Senator Doherty’s vote on the budget and relieve businesses from further fees. Again, no identified funding source.
“These are important causes, and I support them. But when weighed against women’s health and family planning funding, there’s absolutely no question where the State should be spending our money.
“We were able to identify a funding source which was budget neutral. It was supported by non-partisan Office of Legislative Services budget predictions… predictions that the Governor and his Treasurer have yet to tell us where they disagree.
“We heard from the federally-qualified health centers that they will be able to handle any new patients that come their way as a result of the Governor’s funding cuts. Unfortunately, patients will have to wait in lines which stretch around the block, and FQHCs will be pushed further beyond the fiscal precipice on which they now sit.
“Governor Christie has sided with conservative politics against the women of the Garden State. However, despite this setback, we will push for a veto override. The bill was approved by a veto-proof majority in the Senate, and I believe we can win more support in the Assembly in an override attempt.
“Hopefully, the Legislature can correct this short-sighted mistake from a Governor who values political party cred over women’s health.”