TRENTON - While recovery from Superstorm Sandy is important, the Assembly Democratic leadership today called on Gov. Chris Christie to deal with the state’s “core problems” that existed long before Sandy made its impact.
Among those are the state’s high number of foreclosures, low-wage jobs, the state’s higher than national unemployment rate, sluggish revenue growth, toll increases, and diminished public safety forces, they said.
“We can’t turn a blind eye on the fact that New Jersey’s economy was struggling before Sandy,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees. “If we don’t address that underlying problem… we’ll be right back in the economic doldrums if we don’t attack the core of the disease that is driving New Jersey’s economic problems.”
In terms of whatever job creation has taken place, on average such jobs pay $10, according to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-34), East Orange.
Greenwald said there are some 1,426 fewer police officers, which stem from state aid cuts.
The Democratic leadership also pointed out there was no mention of the sluggish revenue growth in today's State of the State speech. The Christie Administration last year projected a nearly 8 percent revenue growth, but monthly reports have shown the revenues have consistently missed benchmarks.
Leaving the problems unresolved, they said, could result in a $2 billion budget deficit.
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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