New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement in response to Governor Murphy’s so-called budget freeze:
“The Governor’s action putting a so-called freeze on items cherry picked from the budget is a shameless act of political retribution that is both petty and vindictive – it’s Bridgegate on steroids that punishes those who disagree.
“This is an abuse of gubernatorial power that victimizes some of the neediest and most vulnerable people in New Jersey, including cancer patients, the hungry, senior citizens, college students and those struggling to overcome substance abuse problems.
“It is an irresponsible move that could have serious consequences by denying financial support to cancer programs, putting a medical school out of business, choking off the economic and educational growth of Stockton University in Atlantic City and refusing to provide timely aid to municipalities as they work to deliver vital services and hold down property taxes. This is an artificial freeze that is entirely about politics and nothing about finances.
“The Governor has the authority to put a hold on state spending but he also has the responsibility to act in the best interests of the state. He is not living up to that responsibility.
“We sent the Governor a fiscally responsible budget with a surplus of more than $1.3 billion. He signed it into law and officially certified the revenues. We are confident that our revenue estimates are as accurate now as they were last year when we were proven to be correct. We should be moving forward with a budget that strives to address the real-life needs of New Jersey’s nine million residents who live outside Trenton politics."