As New Jerseyans brace for another winter storm Wednesday night. Gov. Chris Christie might be forecasting a milder winter next year.  The governor's fiscal year 2016 $33.8 billion budget proposal calls for slashing the funding for snow removal by $44 million, a nearly 50 percent reduction. 

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According to a published report by NJ Advance Media, the cut represents an overall 8.4 percent decrease in the New Jersey Department of Transportation's (DOT) budget. 

"That's something that during the budget process will come out as a point of discussion. You always need to budget more for that," said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus).

A spokesman with the state Treasury Department did not say how roads would be cleared, but he told NJ Advance Media that the snow removal funding reduction would not impact DOT operations.

"As we've had two rough winters back to back you can't skimp on that because that becomes problematic for the safety of the residents and we want to make sure our roads are properly salted and properly cleared," Prieto explained.

The speaker said that he planned to find a way to fully restore the snow removal cut. He explained that he would do that in conjunction with Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passiac), who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee.

"It's all about priorities and that one is a big one," Prieto said.

The Assembly Budget Committee has scheduled public hearings on Christie's spending plan proposal. The first hearing was expected to take place beginning at 9:30am on Wednesday, March 11 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood.