Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement on Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget address: “Governor Christie delivered a masterful speech in presenting his budget. However, as usual, the devil is in the details. “Today, we heard a bit of the good, the bad and the ugly. “The good is that the state is making its required $1.7 billion pension payment to provide greater stability to the public workers’ pension funds. Additionally, I am pleased that the Governor saw wisdom in expanding drug courts, as well as accepting millions in federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage for New Jersey’s poor, uninsured residents. “I am also pleased that families, businesses, and local governments will not be left in the lurch as they continue to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. “The Governor seems to have changed his opinion about funding that allows senior citizens to age in their homes as a more cost effective alternative to expensive nursing homes. This is similar to my proposal for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities that the Governor criticized last year and pledged to veto. I am pleased to know that the Governor now recognizes that the investment of allowing senior citizens to age in place will save taxpayers money in the long run. “The bad is that the Governor did not mention the half billion dollar budget deficit or the 9.6% unemployment rate, the fourth highest in the nation and the highest that it’s been in thirty-five years. Additionally, New Jersey’s poverty rate is up to 11.4% and has been on a steady increase over the past several years. “The ugly is that he continues to ignore the struggles of New Jersey’s poor and middle class families by vetoing the bills to increase the minimum wage, restore the Earned Income Tax Credit, and increase taxes on New Jersey’s millionaires. “The Governor acknowledges that every child deserves a quality education, because it enables them to have greater success, employment, and earning power. However, he overlooks the difficulty in achieving these goals when students living in poverty have a diminished quality of life, and their parents are working and still struggling to meet their families’ basic needs.”
"This meeting is entirely off the record. Until somebody leaks it."