TRENTON – Party-line reactions flowed in quickly following Gov. Chris Christie’s fiscal year 2014 budget address.
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick:
“Governor Christie outlined a fiscally responsible budget that supports core priorities while not increasing taxes. We are funding educational aid at an historic level and will be making the largest pension payment in state history, while still spending less than the Corzine budget of Fiscal Year 2008. The governor has crafted another sound budget plan that continues to move our state in the right direction by placing taxpayers first.”
Assemblyman and chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee John Wisniewski:
“I’m disappointed by Governor Christie’s lack of leadership when it comes to New Jersey’s budget.
“Last year, Christie proposed a fiscally irresponsible tax cut, spent six months crowing about a ‘Jersey Comeback’ that never materialized, and we are now facing a $473 million shortfall for the 2013 fiscal year. Until we can close that budget gap, it is fiscally irresponsible to propose a tax cut. We won’t just take Christie’s word that he’ll figure out how to balance the budget and cut property taxes. That said, if his math is actually right for once, then of course the legislature will gladly work with him to enact the Democratic proposal from last year.”
Deputy Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco:
“As the budget debate unfolds over the next weeks and months, we must keep in mind that government is most successful when people have a job and businesses are thriving.
“Providing over $200 million in additional tax relief to businesses will encourage them to stay in New Jersey and fuel economic growth. This budget is built on a stronger foundation as it reduces the reliance on one-shot revenues from 13 percent (under Governor Corzine’s last budget) to 3 percent in this plan.”
Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana:
“As a result of the fiscal controls implemented by Governor Christie since he has been in office, he is again able to present taxpayers with another pragmatic and responsible plan that protects their interests despite the enormous challenges presented by Super Storm Sandy.
“His budget proposal reflects his continued commitment to fund key programs for the most vulnerable, provide for our students through increased aid to our schools while maintaining excellence in healthcare by sustaining hospital funding.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr.:
“Regardless of their political stripes, New Jersey residents are looking for a government that lives within its means, enables private sector job creation, provides an excellent education to all children, and is there to lend a hand when disaster strikes.
“Governor Christie’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is focused squarely on these priorities and moving New Jersey forward by getting back to the basics of what taxpayers demand from their government: conservative spending, no tax hikes, increased aid to schools, and a groundbreaking trial program to give children in failing schools a choice to seek a better learning environment.
“Unfortunately, the tone set this year by the Democrat leaders in Trenton is straight out of the dysfunctional Washington, D.C. playbook: fabricating controversy over the Governor’s every decision and searching for wedge issues instead of bipartisan compromise.”
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver:
“The Governor’s reckless budget decisions last year have now come back to haunt him and it’s homeowners who will pay the price. His wildly inflated and unrealistic revenue projections for the current fiscal year have not panned out, forcing him to once again delay the delivery of property tax relief.
“Gov. Christie seems to have forgotten how the budget process works. In order for us to sign off on any tax cut, he must first present us with a sound plan to fund such a proposal. With a nearly $500 million deficit right now, it is dishonest for the Governor to portray it in any other light.
“Had Democrats allowed the Governor to go through with his plan last year for tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthy, we would be in an even more precarious fiscal position right now. It’s clear that the prudence and patience we employed was the right move and we intend to employ a similar approach this year.”
John Burzichelli, chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee:
“Overall, the Governor gave a good speech. Yet, like always, it lacked in detail and glossed over issues truly significant to New Jersey residents.
“People are looking for relief from sky-rocketing unemployment rates, perpetual home foreclosures and what are still the highest property taxes in the country. They need real conversations and real solutions that will support the middle class, provide healthcare for women and allow low-wage workers to earn more.
“The new ideas he proposed today sound good, but as they say, ‘the devil is in the details.’ Where will the money come from to support these programs?”