The five Republican members of the New Jersey Senate Budget Committee urged Governor Corzine to embrace the democratic process during his state of the state speech, and officially declare the budget reopened so legislators can perform their constitutional role in determining how state money will be spent.
“No governor should be allowed to squelch debate about the issues that are most crucial to citizens,” Senator Bucco said. “This governor can’t run the state like a Wall Street CEO, answerable only to the special interests and insiders who help him win elections.”
“The public has a right to know where the governor plans to find budget savings or move funds from critical programs,” Senator Haines said. “The budget must be fair. To ensure it is fair, we need open debate in the Legislature.”
“Corzine seems determined to go around the democratic process on every important issue,” Senator O’Toole said. “He pushed through toll hikes without legislative approval. Now he wants the Legislature to rubber stamp at least $2 billion in budget changes. Taxpayers have a right to full debate about where their government is going and how their money will be spent.”
“The administration has refused to honor a simple request to document how it’s moving money around to patch growing holes in the budget,” Senator Pennacchio said. “No administration that acts in this manner can claim with a straight face that it’s practicing open and transparent government. It’s time to stop dictating to the citizenry, and instead wholeheartedly welcome them to join a debate about the future of the state.”
“Other states are using the economic downturn to drive open and vigorous debates about the direction of government,” Senator Oroho said. “Governor Corzine is blocking the discussion. Our state is the poorer for it. The public has a right to know.”