Below is a statement from the following union leaders on the Comptroller’s EDA Audit and report of New Jersey’s corporate welfare program: *CWA NJ State Director Hetty Rosenstein, *ATU NJ State Council Chairman Ray Greaves, *ATU International President Lawrence J Hanley, *AFSCME NJ Council 63 Executive Director Steve Tully, *IFPTE Local 194 President and President of the Hudson County Central Labor Council Barry Kushnir, *IFPTE Local 195 President Tim Rudolf, *Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon, * Union of Rutgers Administrators, AFT Local 1766 President Christine O’Connell, *Council of State College Presidents Tim Haresign. *Deepa Kumar, President Rutgers AAUP-AFT.
“Today’s report is jarring, but not surprising. For years, we’ve heard elected leaders claim New Jersey’s public workers are to blame for our state’s fiscal problems. Recently, some legislators even claimed that middle-class workers earning modest retirement benefits will “squeeze out” spending on critical social programs and education.
“This report is yet another reminder of the actual truth: The real reason our state’s financial future is in peril is that, for far too long, New Jersey has showered politically-connected corporations and the super-wealthy with taxpayer-funded hand-outs.
“This $11 billion could have gone towards so many worthy endeavors – funding education, property tax relief, essential services, retirement security for public workers, roads, bridges, NJ Transit, investing in university research and innovation, and so much more. Instead, it went into the pockets of already-profitable corporations.
“We call for an immediate suspension of any grants or awards until legislation ensuring oversight and a fair deal for taxpayers can replace the current, rigged system of corporate welfare. Furthermore, we request an immediate investigation from appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine if laws have been broken, as well as action to reimburse taxpayers for any incentive or grant awarded that violates the public trust. Finally, we call on legislative leadership – from both parties – to acknowledge that attacks on middle-class workers who work hard every day providing services to our state must stop, while we instead examine and rectify the serious policy mistakes that have been made in this area.”