Sen. President Sweeney’s Budget Excuses

Senate President Steve Sweeney has just made several excuses for our current “Go Along To Get Along” Budget.

Sen. Sweeney has said:

  •  “There’s no money.”

    Well there is $32.9 bilion in the budget which is not chicken feed and should provide opportunities to maneuver.

  •  “There are no other programs we can cut.”

    For starters there is the the bloated Governor’s Office budget, corporate tax breaks such as those for companies that only move a few blocks away (Prudential in Newark), incarceration costs for minor drug violations, ending over-payments to halfway houses, reigning in absurdly high hospital charges, reducing duplication of expensive medical equipment in the same vicinity, medical tort reform, and reducing pay to play which increases government costs. (Feel free to add your preferred cost cuts.)

    For the Governor it’s all about cuts. For the Senate President it should be about increasing State revenue. The $7.5 million legislature request for family planning will probably be vetoed by the Governor but for every dollar the State spends here the federal government contributes nine dollars. The Governor is selectively averse to accepting federal funds (ARC tunnel), but the Senate President should be seeking such funds. NJ traditionally receives less each year from the  Federal government that what it sends to Washington. Let’s not forget that a tax surcharge on millionaires not only raises revenue but is a burden the wealthy can carry. Our poverty and income disparities are burdens we should not have to carry.

  •  “When it came to negotiating this year’s budget, there just wasn’t enough money to fight over, and there won’t be for the next several years either. Our pension obligation will eat up most of the expected revenue growth.”

    Pension obligations will indeed be a necessary drag on the budget. All the more reason to re-examine appropriations and push for more ways to increase revenue. And all the more reason to review and set new priorities, instead of whining that there will be no money. Governor Christie is good at finding money. (He will need to find $24 million just for the current Special Election, which is not in the budget.) Sen. Sweeney should hone his skills, discuss priorities publicly, appropriate accordingly, and go about finding the money.  


  • Comments (6)

    1. zi985

      Yesterday the NJ Senate and Assembly voted on bill S3000, Gov. Christie’s Budget for FY 2013-14.  It passed 29-11 in the Senate and 52-25-3 in the Assembly.  

      Here is a list of the 10 Democratic Senators and 24 Democratic Assemblymembers who rightly voted against this bad, draconian budget (the only R’s to vote against it were Sen. Mike Doherty and Asm. Jay Webber):

      Democratic Senators who voted against S3000:

      Buono, Barbara – No

      Codey, Richard J. – No

      Gill, Nia H. – No

      Lesniak, Raymond J. – No

      Pou, Nellie – No

      Scutari, Nicholas P. – No

      Smith, Bob – No

      Turner, Shirley K. – No

      Vitale, Joseph F. – No

      Weinberg, Loretta – No

      Democratic Assemblymembers who voted against S3000:

      Barnes, Peter J., III – No

      Chivukula, Upendra J. – No

      Coughlin, Craig J. – No

      Cryan, Joseph – No

      Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. – No

      Fuentes, Angel – No

      Giblin, Thomas P. – No

      Green, Jerry – No

      Greenwald, Louis D. – No

      Gusciora, Reed – No

      Jasey, Mila M. – No

      Johnson, Gordon M. – No

      Lampitt, Pamela R. – No

      McKeon, John F. – No

      Quijano, Annette – No

      Schaer, Gary S. – No

      Spencer, L. Grace – No

      Stender, Linda – No

      Sumter, Shavonda E. – No

      Vainieri Huttle, Valerie – No

      Watson Coleman, Bonnie – No

      Wilson, Gilbert L. – No

      Wimberly, Benjie E. – No

      Wisniewski, John S. – No

      Besides Assemblymembers Albert Coutinho, Sheila Oliver, and Cleopatra, who were not present yesterday when the bill was voted on, the other 14 Democratic Senators and 21 Assemblymembers all voted FOR this draconian budget.  If you live in any of their Legislative Districts please give them a call and voice your disappointment (and if your Democratic Assemblymember voted against the bill call them up to thank them for voting NO)!

    2. firstamend07

      Kudos to the Democratic leadership who were able to negotiate a budget that will not endure one line item veto.

      Perfect? of course not.

      Fair? ABSOLUTELY!

      No state shutdown. Pension being paid. No state worker layoffs.

      Fighting fights that cannot be won is just plain stupid.

      When 70% of our elected officials can agree on something THAT IS A GOOD JOB!

      Overall grade B+  


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