Lawmakers, officials react to Christie’s budget address
“Chris Christie’s consistent focus on self-promotion instead of what’s best for his state has resulted in a lagging New Jersey economy and a disastrous budget crisis. And in today’s address, Christie only offered more of the same.
“The facts are clear: Chris Christie has led New Jersey off a fiscal cliff – giving massive tax breaks to corporations while failing to meet his obligations to the middle class, overseeing major budget shortfalls, and notching a record-setting eight state credit downgrades. Christie’s failed economic and fiscal policies have done serious damage to New Jersey – just imagine what they would do to America.”
N.J. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Bracken:
"We understand that this year's budget has been constructed in the face of many significant challenges. We appreciate that many aspects of the governor's budget plan remain business friendly. The budget contains no business tax increases and no business tax policy changes, and it contains the final year of phased-in business tax cuts that were initiated several years ago."
"The budget also corrects a problem with the BEIP program that has been detrimental to attracting and retaining business in New Jersey. It makes this aspect of the state's business incentive program more predictable by converting the BEIP grant program into a tax credit program. This would give consistency and certainty to this business program because it would no longer be subject to the appropriations process."
“Once again, Governor Christie has demonstrated the true meaning of strong, Republican leadership. For the sixth year in a row, the Governor has kept fiscal discipline a top priority by proposing a budget that is responsible, balanced, and requires no new taxes for the hardworking people of our state. In stark contrast to the partisanship that paralyzes D.C., the Governor today took bold steps to address our challenges head on and deliver the type of bipartisan solutions that New Jerseyans need and deserve. I applaud Governor Christie’s commitment to making the tough, yet necessary choices for our state and I strongly urge Democrats in Trenton to support his ongoing efforts to keep New Jersey moving in the right direction.”
Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco (R-Morris):
“Every legislator, every hard-working resident, every job creator can be excited today that productive negotiations and compromise are once again happening in Trenton to ensure that state health and pension benefit systems can become affordable, sustainable and solvent for taxpayers and beneficiaries.
“This can be a dream come true: with the groundwork already laid out, the Christie administration, the state’s bipartisan, independent commission, labor unions and the legislature must now seize this opportunity to complete groundbreaking and necessary reform.”
Assembly Republican Deputy Conference Leader Mary Pat Angelini (R, Monmouth):
“This is another fiscally responsible budget that keeps New Jersey on the right track. The governor has a sustainable plan to fund our priorities - education, property tax relief and pensions - without increasing taxes.
“The Legislature needs to work together to continue the progress to make New Jersey competitive and affordable. We continue to see significant progress. To sustain the momentum, it will take cooperation like we saw today, with the governor and the teacher’s working out a pension solution for the long haul.”
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, (R-Monmouth):
“The governor and the NJEA deserve high praise for working together on a solution to the pension issue. As we have said all along, it is essential we come together to craft solutions that provide long term relief. Gov. Christie and the teachers did just that, coming together to find a realistic, sustainable fix to the pension challenge.
“From a budget-makers perspective, this is a credible first step toward an over-all solution to the serious budget issues facing our state. It will be a work in progress for the next six months as we continue to monitor revenues and work out the details.”
Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris and Somerset), a member of the Assembly Budget Committee:
“One doesn’t have to look any further than today’s Budget Address to realize the differences between Republicans and Democrats. When Governor Christie said ‘no new taxes’ in his address, not one member of the Democratic party stood in support.”
Assembly Republican Conference Leader David Rible (R-Monmouth and Ocean):
“For the sixth year in a row, the governor has proposed a budget that protects taxpayers and businesses by keeping our fiscal commitments on solid ground. He understands that tax hikes are the problem, not the solution. By meeting our fiscal obligations without increasing taxes, we continue to provide the predictable and stable environment businesses require to grow and create jobs.”
Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, (R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris):
“The governor’s budget proposal shows his continued commitment to fiscal discipline and government reform which are paying dividends for taxpayers. Major revenues continue to increase at the same time the state’s unemployment rate continues to decline. Today’s plan again contains no tax increases which has also helped to spur economic growth. People are spending money and our business climate continues to improve. This is the responsible way to fix our fiscal ills.”
Deputy Assembly Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris), a member of the Assembly Budget Committee:
“The governor’s budget puts taxpayers first by controlling spending, funding education and making the largest pension payment in state history and sets priorities our residents support. These are challenging times and difficult choices must be made. I look forward to a rigorous and honest debate during the budget process."
“Promoting a more competitive business tax structure and providing direct property tax relief will make our state a more affordable place to live. I am confident we will be able to work together on a plan that continues to move New Jersey in the right direction.”
Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic):
“Now the Legislature must work with the governor to solve the state’s fiscal obligations. Increasing educational funding and streamlining the government workforce demonstrates Governor Christie’s commitment to keeping his promises. We now have a responsibility to maintain a budget that’s affordable for taxpayers.”
“We can accomplish much more for the people of New Jersey by working together instead of playing politics. This budget is fiscally responsible and keeps New Jersey on the road to recovery without raising taxes.”
Forward New Jersey Chairman Tom Bracken:
“Lanes are being shut down. Bridges are closing. Traffic is building up. Now we have a report showing that our state’s bridges are the 6th worst in the nation. 35 percent of the bridges in New Jersey do not even meet safety standards or have the adequate ability to handle traffic loads. Clearly, the Transportation Trust Fund crisis is the single most pressing issue facing New Jerseyans today. That is why it is so disappointing that there was no mention of the TTF anywhere in the speech."
“We appreciate that the governor is working with legislative leadership to develop a solution. But it is time for the discussion to stop and the solution to be put forward.”
NJ Working Families executive director Analilia Mejia:
“Once again Governor Christie is protecting massive tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations while attempting to balance the budget on the backs of property taxpayers, low-income families and dedicated public workers. Over the last five years he has given corporations over $2 billion in corporate tax breaks and doled out $5 billion in targeted subsidies to some of the most profitable corporations in the world. The state’s wealthiest residents are paying less in income taxes than before Governor Christie took office. If budgets are about choices, then at every step of the way Governor Christie has chosen to safeguard the interests of the rich over the rest of us."
"If Governor Christie will not propose a budget that works for working families, it is up to the state legislature to show leadership and pass a budget that puts working families first and asks the state’s wealthiest residents and corporations to finally pay their fair share.”
"New Jersey Working Families is a coalition of labor and community organizations that fights for progressive policies and elects progressive champions. It convenes the statewide Better Choices for New Jersey campaign, which successfully passed a one-year surcharge on the wealthy in 2009 and leads the fight against Governor Christie’s trickle-down agenda."
New Jersey Business & Industry Association President Michele Siekerka:
"Governor Chris Christie’s proposed 2016 state budget strives to tackle the problems with New Jersey’s unsustainable pension system while maintaining initiatives to improve the economic climate, sending a positive signal to the business community."
“The nearly 4 percent increase in revenue shows that the state is clearly on the right track. “Investments are paying off. New Jersey is on the upward trajectory, just as our Business Outlook Survey suggested."
“The straight-forward plan to tackle the structural deficit in New Jersey’s pension system will allow state government to concentrate on programs and policies that impact everyone,” Siekerka said. “As policymakers work on the FY 16 budget, we urge a continued commitment to economic growth by addressing the challenges ahead without raising taxes on business.”
New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes:
"New Jerseyans hoping to hear an accurate assessment of the state's financial situation today would surely be disappointed, as the governor devoted his entire budget address to public-employee pensions and health benefits. Granted, this is a crucial challenge facing the state, but it is not the only or most immediate problem - not by a long shot."
"The governor, for example, did not talk about our transportation networks, even though in less than five months the fund that pays for maintaining and improving these vital economic assets will have zero money for new projects. For New Jersey to grow its laggard economy, it is essential that the Transportation Trust Fund by replenished with significant and stable new funding. This is an emergency that the governor failed to even recognize, never mind suggesting a pathway to a solution."
In the video below, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) and Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic) issue the Assembly Democratic response to the governor’s FY 2016 Budget Address.