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President Obama’s Budget Plan Draws NJ Congress Reaction [AUDIO]

Win McNamee, Getty Images

President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2013 that hikes taxes on the wealthiest Americans and spends new money on education and infrastructure.

New Jersey’s representatives in Congress weigh in on the spending plan.

Obama’s spending plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1st projects a deficit for this year of $1.33 trillion. That would mean four straight years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits. Under Obama’s outline, the deficit would decline to $901 billion in 2013 with continued improvements shrinking the deficit to $575 billion in 2018.

Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) said Obama’s budget plan is deja vu all over again. “The Obama administration is proposing to borrow another $1.3 trillion to pay for unstainable increases in government spending.”

Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the House Budget Committee, said the President’s plan puts us on a credible and responsible path to paying $4 trillion toward our national deficit.

“Among the strengths of the President’s proposal is the extension of the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012 and elimination of unfair tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Most importantly, the President’s proposal includes a $350 billion plan for creating jobs in America.”

Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) said he’s disappointed that the administration is not taking our nation’s fiscal crises seriously.

“The budget continues to propose deficit spending, cuts to our nation’s defense, and increased taxes. The President knows that his budget lacks the bipartisan support needed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. What little ‘deficit reduction’ is included in the budget falls squarely on the shoulders of our men and women in uniform.”

New Jersey would get more money for transportation, education and funding to hire teachers, police and fire and emergency workers.

Among the areas targeted for increases, Obama is proposing $476 billion in increased spending on transportation projects including efforts to expand inner-city rail services.

To spur job creation in the short-term, Obama is proposing a $50 billion “upfront” investment for transportation, $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 schools and $30 billion to help states hire teachers and police, rescue and fire department workers. Republicans in Congress, opposed to further stimulus spending, have blocked these proposals in the past.

The White House said Monday Obama will seek $8 billion to create a fund to encourage community colleges and businesses to work together to train workers in high-growth industries.

Democrats defended the plan as a balanced apprach. Pascrell, and U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) applauded Obama’s allocating $1 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Passaic River Reevaluation Study in his proposed national budget for Fiscal Year 2013.

“The federal government and President Obama made a clear commitment to helping our community find a long-term solution to the destructive cycle of flooding that residents in the Passaic River Basin have had to face on an almost annual basis.” said Pascrell, a member of the House Budget Committee.

But Lance says the spending plan fails to do enough to restrain the deficit. “I believe that we should take seriously the notion that we have to bring down our annual deficits and restore fiscal responsibility in this country…which the President has not yet proven to do.”

Republicans are preparing an alternative to Obama’s budget that will be similar to a measure the House approved last year but failed in the Senate.

Pascrell said this is the first step in the budgetary process. “I will work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to improve the President’s request.”

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