TRENTON – The state treasurer’s remark that New Jersey’s budget problem stems from spending straightens the back of Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul Sarlo, the Democratic senator from Wood-Ridge.
Recovering, Sarlo leans into the microphone.
“Did I hear you say (the budget deficit) has nothing to do with revenue?”
“There is some falloff in revenue because of the national recession,” concedes Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. But “I think it’s clear, New Jersey has a spending problem.”
“I’m a recovering politician,” said the former New York City councilman. “But when we succumb to the temptation to bail ourselves out with spending increases…” trouble occurs.
Sarlo stays on the ofensive.
“We’re talking about $5.5 billion loss in revenue going back to 2006,” says the committee chairman. “That’s a revenue problem.”
“I didn’t say it wasn’t a problem,” Sidamon-Eristoff says. “I’m saying even if that money were restored, we’d still have a structural deficit.”