Trenton— Following the Majority's passage of a budget out of balance by upwards of $700 million, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Westfield) issued the following statement:
Poll-tested politics was the driving force behind the Majority's budget plan. How else could one explain the decision to ignore the law and submit a budget that was unbalanced from the minute it was introduced?
Of particular concern is the Majority's decision to cite $165 million in savings that two weeks ago they admitted were no longer realistic due to compromises made in the pension and benefits reform legislation signed into law yesterday.
Because of the difficult choices made last year by Governor Christie and Republicans, things are turning around. However, a little good news should not be viewed by the Majority as a license to spend and particularly, not to inflate revenues to pay for that spending.
This budget makes a lot of promises to the people of New Jersey, but they are promises paid for by completely fabricated revenues and savings in the interest of politics.
The people of New Jersey deserve better.
Remarks: FY 2012 Budget Passage
Senator Tom Kean, Jr.
June 29, 2011
Senate Chambers, Trenton, NJ
Thank you Senate President.
It’s really easy for those of us standing here to tell people what they want to hear. Who doesn’t want to be one to go home to our constituents and promise them the world, say we can deliver everything they’ve ever wanted and it won’t cost them a thing?
The only problem is that the world doesn’t work that way. There are consequences to every decision we make here, and ignoring them doesn’t make those problems go away.
Senate President, this budget promises lots of things that sound great to the people we represent- but it is paid for by hundreds of millions in savings and revenues with no basis in fact.
$365 million in revenue that the Treasurer will not certify. We are required by law to use the Treasurer’s numbers.
$190 million in phantom savings that nobody can identify by line item.
And worst of all, a 165 million dollar shortfall resulting from compromises made in the pension and benefits reform bill that the sponsor of this budget acknowledged two weeks ago- but made no attempt to reflect in this budget.
But sure- it’s good politics.
Who doesn’t want more school aid? Or money for police? Nobody will ask about how it is paid for.
Unfortunately, what makes for calculated politics usually makes for lousy public policy.
Those who vote to approve this budget today are not only handing the Governor a giant hole- they’re doing so in violation of the responsibility the law explicitly sets out for us as Senators.
But they’ll get to SAY that they voted in favor of all kinds of nice things for their districts.
And the united Republican minority that refuses to return to the types of gimmicks and pie-in-the-sky predictions that have given us the highest tax burden in the nation and made us one of the least affordable places in America to raise a family or create jobs are sure to have this vote used against us.
But it’s a vote that’s shows responsible leadership, not poll-tested politics.
And so Senate President, I’ll be voting no- because I won’t endorse a budget that was unbalanced from the minute it was introduced in order to make false promises to the people who sent me here.
Our constituents deserve better than this.