Legislators, Stakeholders React To Budget Deal Announcement

With the announcement of an eleventh hour budget deal this evening to avert a shutdown, legislators and stakeholders offered their reactions (will continue to be updated as new statements come in):

Senate President Sweeney:

“I want to thank Governor Murphy, Speaker Coughlin and the leadership teams from the Senate and Assembly for all their hard work and commitment. We have reached an agreement on a budget that we can all embrace and that will address our shared priorities. It embodies the values of Democrats and will serve the needs and best interests of the people of New Jersey. Putting together a responsible and effective budget was a challenge. That’s because the issues we face are challenging. This is what compromise and dialogue look like. None of us got all that we wanted, but the final plan is the product of the work of both the Legislature and the Governor.

Assembly Speaker Coughlin:

“I want to thank Gov. Murphy and Senate President Sweeney for agreeing to meet in the middle and putting forth a final budget that we can all put our names to. After much work, we have reached an agreement that meets our common priorities and turns the page on the last eight years.  This budget provides increased tax relief to those who need it the most, and ensures that those benefitting from President Trump’s tax laws pay their fair share. We have kept our commitment to seniors and working families, and are making the necessary investments for education, infrastructure improvements and NJ Transit. We insisted from the very beginning that this budget had to be fair and responsible. This budget meets those goals.”

Senate Majority Leader Weinberg:

“The budget agreement today represents a sensible compromise between the Legislature and the governor. I want to thank Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for working past their differences and finding common ground. Compromise is never easy. Despite some differences, we were never far apart on what we wanted to achieve – to fund core Democratic priorities that lift up the disenfranchised, the poor, the disabled and those who need advocates in government. This is a good budget. It is time now for us, as Democrats, to work together.”

Assembly Majority Leader Greenwald:

“We’ve reached a budget deal that comprises both the Governor’s and the Legislature’s priorities and sets New Jersey on a strong economic path for the next four years. I am proud of the path legislative leadership has taken during these negotiations fighting for funding and programs that our residents want and deserve. Budget negotiations are never a simple task, and they should not be, especially when those involved are committed to getting the right things done for the people of New Jersey.”

Senate Republican Caucus:

“The failures of the Governor and Democratic majorities in both houses of the Legislature have brought us back to Trenton after our constitutional deadline to approve a balanced budget has passed. To be clear, these are failures of Democrats alone. Even this morning, a day after Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin stood together to announce an agreement on billions in spending and tax increases, they continue to argue over exactly how to raise taxes on New Jerseyans. Nothing, in any of their proposals, would stop the flight of New Jersey’s suffering families and employees to other more affordable states. To the contrary, all of their plans would make that problem worse. This single-party government run by Democrats has failed New Jersey. Our great state deserves better.”

Senator Sarlo:

I want to thank Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for their persistence in working out a budget compromise. As the chairman of the committee charged with holding hearings on the budget, I am aware firsthand the challenges they faced. Budgets are about choices. We have had our differences about how to fund core Democratic priorities, but we were never far apart on what those priorities were – fair school funding, services for the disabled, advocacy for victims of domestic violence, health care and so much more. There are winners in this budget – the people of New Jersey.”

Senator Scutari:

“I am pleased that the Legislature and the governor found common ground and averted a government shutdown. Budgets are often about compromise – but what was never on the table this year was the Legislature’s commitment to restore core Democratic values into the budget. This is a good budget and a good day for New Jersey.”

Senator Cunningham:

“I’m pleased we have averted a government shutdown. The Legislature’s budget funded core Democratic priorities and that funding has remained intact. We are ensuring that the most needy and vulnerable in our society receive the services they need. We worked hard to make sure that this budget will benefit the people of New Jersey and continue to move the state forward.”

Senator Ruiz:

First, I want to thank Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for working together to reach a compromise that does not diminish our commitment to fairly fund education, that provides services for people in need and that reflects our core values as Democrats. Throughout the budget process, we have never lost sight of what this is all about. It is about investing in the people of New Jersey. I thank our Democratic leadership for reaching this important agreement.”

NJBIA President Siekerka:

“NJBIA is concerned that the agreement reached tonight balances the budget on the backs of the business community, particularly the increase in the corporation business tax, which will give New Jersey among the highest CBT rates in the nation.  Increasing the already high cost of doing business in New Jersey will undermine efforts to create jobs and grow the economy. NJBIA continues to call for structural reforms that address the cause of budget deficits such as public employee pensions, health benefits and education costs. We urge legislators and the governor to address the comprehensive reforms that are needed in the weeks ahead.”

NJ Policy Perspective President MacInnes:

“This budget is a step in the right direction for New Jersey, but it does not sufficiently address the state’s long-term financial needs. New funding for public education, transit infrastructure, and property tax relief should help jumpstart New Jersey’s economy, but these critical investments are put at risk by the temporary and volatile funding streams meant to pay for them. The legislature missed an opportunity to fully turn the page on the politically expedient, short-term budget decisions of the past.”

Working Families NJ Executive Director Mejia:

“New Jersey working families emerge victorious with a budget that increases spending on public transportation, moves to make higher education more affordable, and meets its obligations to its residents. Under this bold and progressive budget, New Jersey’s wealthiest will now pay their fair share. We’re proud to have stood up for working families throughout this process and congratulate legislators for coming together with the Governor to prevent a unnecessary and fruitless state shutdown.”

ATU Chair Ray Greaves:

“Governor Murphy’s budget is a huge win for transit riders, ATU members and working families across New Jersey.  The Governor delivered sustainable revenue that will allow NJ Transit to avoid fare hikes, increase service and to put NJ Transit on the road to becoming the premier transit agency that it once was.”

GOP Senate candidate Bob Hugin:

“Governor Murphy’s irresponsible decision to increase taxes and fees on everything from grocery bags to Uber rides to rental properties is going to backfire,” said Hugin. “This budget will hurt working people, force residents and jobs to leave the state, and make it even more unaffordable for those who stay.  Asking the highest taxed people in the country to dig in to their pockets for one penny more is unacceptable.”

NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt:

“This was an ugly process that resulted in a budget plan that will tax New Jersey into the dark ages. We’re just six months into Trenton being under one party control and it’s already obvious that our state representation is desperate for a major course correction. I believe that the partisan makeup of the legislature will look very different after the 2019 Murphy midterm election.”

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