Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) issued the following statement today in response to the release of funds “frozen” by the Murphy Administration for six months:
“It’s about time!
“We always knew these funds would eventually be released but they should never have been frozen in the first place and the people served by the programs should not have been forced to wait for six long months for the services they need. It is unconscionable that they were held hostage to a politically motivated executive order that was illegitimate and unconstitutional.
“The Governor has the constitutional authority to either approve spending in the budget or to remove specific allocations with line-item vetoes – but he does not have the constitutional authority to put them into a deep freeze.
“The Legislature approved the spending, the Governor signed the budget into law, and he ‘certified’ the revenues to pay for them. There was no justifiable reason to ignore the law, to defy the constitution or to deny the needs of the people.
“We must not forget that the people impacted from the beginning by this so-called freeze relied on these funds to care for cancer patients, support colleges and universities, aid distressed cities, help food stamp recipients, and allow re-entry programs to serve the formerly incarcerated, among other priorities. They were the victims.”