TRENTON - The state treasurer's remark that New Jersey's budget problem stems from spending straightens the back of Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul Sarlo, the Democratic senator from Wood-Ridge.
Recovering, Sarlo leans into the microphone.
"Did I hear you say (the budget deficit) has nothing to do with revenue?"
"There is some falloff in revenue because of the national recession," concedes Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. But "I think it's clear, New Jersey has a spending problem."
"I'm a recovering politician," said the former New York City councilman. "But when we succumb to the temptation to bail ourselves out with spending increases..." trouble occurs.
Sarlo stays on the ofensive.Read More >
TRENTON - A prickly flare-up ensues involving state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), chair of the budget committee, and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff (pictured).
"We take that $1.5 billion, $447 million, $848 million in rebates, that equals $2.8 billion in property tax relief cuts, is that correct?"
"The math part is okay," says the treasurer.
"I characterize it as property tax relief cuts based on the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services," Sarlo says.
Sidamon-Eristoff objects, offering the inclusion in the budget of other programs or allocations, including a property tax freeze for disabled seniors.
The property tax relief cuts actually equal $805 or $806 million, says Sidamon-Eristoff.Read More >
TRENTON - Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff settles into a chair facing the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for the afternoon session.
This is going to be D's versus R's
"The sad reality is we don't have money for the programs people want," ranking state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton Twp.) says for the minority. "Massive deficit increases and gimmicks will not help New Jersey recover."
Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) now assumes the command position.
"Never has a sitting governor imposed a more onerous tax increase on the people of the State of New Jersey," says Sarlo, referring to the school and municipal aid cuts proposed by Gov. Chris Christie in his $29.3 billion budget.Read More >
TRENTON - State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) gavels to an end the first half of the state Senate Budget Committee's hearings today, thanking legislative budget officer David Rosen for his insights into Gov. Chris Christie's proposed $29.3 billion budget.
"To me the most dramatic part of his testimony was right there at the end, where he acknowledged that when you combine the governor's school aid cut, his municipal aid cut, and the removal of the property tax rebates, what it adds up to is a $2.8 billion cut in property tax relief," said Sarlo.
"I think that is just one of the most telling things about this proposed budget," adds the Bergen County budget committee chairman. "We just heard that from a highly respected source."
State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Cedar Grove) comes up behind Sarlo and he's shaking his head.
"These guys all want to forget the last eight years," says the Republican senator. "You just can't shut the door on how we got here. These guys took us from a $22 billion to a $33 billion budget in eight years."Read More >
CAMDEN - Senate Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, released the following statement after the second public budget hearing on the FY 2011 Budget, held today at Rutgers-Camden School of Law:
“Today we finished two days of public hearings, during which we heard from dozens of residents who expressed deep concerns about the potential impacts of the Governor’s proposed FY2011 budget.
“We are also concerned, and many, many questions remain.Read More >
PARAMUS – Today at Bergen County Community College in Paramus, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee held the first public hearing on the FY 2011 Budget, allowing New Jerseyans who will feel the impact of budget cuts to voice their concerns.
Committee members issued the following statements after listening to testimony from today’s hearing:
“Today, we’ve heard from local officials, health care advocates, education advocates, advocates for individuals living with disabilities and so many others about the severe impact of the Governor’s proposed FY 2011 budget,” said Senator Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, and Chairman of the Budget Committee. “One thing was made plainly clear through the hours of public testimony we heard today – the cuts that the Governor put on the table to balance the budget will mean drastic cuts to services that people depend on.Read More >
PARAMUS - They're an unlikely twosome at the front of the room: the ramrod Republican former Army captain from rural New Jersey and the fast-talking small town mayor from polyglot Bergen, but early in the budget process they have their doubts about Abbott School District funding.
"We want to know what the various scenarios are, what are the numbers exactly, because the cuts to the suburban schools as proposed are so devastating," state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D--Wood-ridge), chair of the budget committee, told PolitickerNJ.com. "I'm going to put in the request today to the governor's office."
State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) likewise wants a deeper probe of Abbott School District appropriations before he affirms Gov. Chris Christie's $28.3 billion 2011 budget as proposed.
"If you look at the percentage of money for Abbott schools last year, it was 55.6%, and this year's proposal is 60.2%," said Doherty in a committee hearing break, moments after conferring with Sarlo.
"At worst, we expected that percentage to stay the same - but a nine percent increase?" asked Doherty, from Warren County. "I have concerns. Questions. My school districts have been lean and mean for years. I don't have $5 million for athletic fields. When people want fields and parking lots, the road department gets their equipment and builds it for free."
Doherty argues that too much fear of consitutional backlash pervades decisions regarding Abbott School funding. "Abbott's been riding high on the hog for years," he said.Read More >
PARAMUS - Up for re-election this year as freeholder in what promises to be a countywide donnybrook here in Bergen, Demarest Mayor James Carroll stakes out his positon as an antagonist to Gov. Chris Christie's budget and a proponent of renewing the millionaire's tax to help the state through its present fiscal crisis.
"The governor wants the $2,000 a year I make as mayor? Tell him to give me a call - it's his," said Carroll, who makes an additional $29,000 and change as chairman of the freeholder board.
"We don't do this because we want to make money," he added. "We do this because we want to serve our communites."
As for Christie's budget proposal - which would eliminate $1.5 million from the Demarest school system and regional high school and $142,000 in municipal aid - "it puts us on life support," said the mayor, moments after testifying before the Senate Budget Committee at Bergen Community College.
"I know times are tough," he said. "I know we're in a crisis that is beyond Democrat and Republican at this point. But we shouldn't be cutting aid to a community life preserver like this college while allowing the millionaire's tax to sunset."Read More >
PARAMUS - Gov. Chris Christie's budget proposal to scrap Blue Laws in Paramus to bring in more tax revenue from shopping isn't the only thing that brings Mayor James Tedesco to the front of the room here at Bergen Community College, where he bashes the FY 2011 proposal from all angles.
"It's an unfortunate decision," he says, referring to what he descries as disproportionate school aid cuts. "These cuts will increase class sizes and reduce teaching staff."
Then there's the $1 million reduction in municipal aid, which the mayor says would put constraints on staff even as the governor simultaneously wants to repeal the Blue Laws to allow Sunday shopping.
"That will mean more police, more ambulances, more services," says Tedesco, his voice rising. "Ladies and gentlemen, the governor needs to relook at this budget."Read More >
PARAMUS - The theater shifts from the front line in Trenton to the front line in Bergen today, where state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) presides as appropriations chairman for a statewide hearing on Gov. Chris Chris Christie's proposed 2011 budget.
"A total coincidence," says Sarlo, when asked about the symbolic import of kicking off these budget hearings in his home county, which happens to be the crucible for a contentious county executive's race, where Democrats are trying to hold onto power in the face of a Christie-infused GOP.
Dems say Christie's state funding cuts - including $821 million statewide to schools and $445 million to muncipal aid - have brought their party off the cold slab just in time to fight off County Clerk Kathleen Donovan, a Republican intent on taking the seat of County Executive Dennis McNerney.
"We scheduled this a while ago, and it's just a coincidence that the governor's budget hit Bergen the hardest, in terms of cuts to municipal and school aid and then the Blue Laws," says Sarlo as he heads to the front of the room here at Bergen Community College.
The senators take their seats and Sarlo begins the hearing.
"We'll have an opportunity at some point today hopefully to talk about just Bergen issues with a group separately," says the budget chairman.Read More >
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) regaled the crowd tonight gathered for a Middlesex County Democratic Committee fundraiser organized by Chairman Kevin McCabe.Read More >
NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...
By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor. Not only is there no current legal... Read More >
“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job." - Gov. Chris Christie- PolitickerNJ
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