Governor Chris Christie said “no” to quite a few things yesterday:
“No’ to a bill that would impose a “millionaires’ tax on those making more than $1 million and “no” to another bill to fund schools and providing low-wage earners with tax relief. (Isn’t this called robbing the poor to feed the rich?)
As the Star-Ledger reports, Christie also got busy with the line-item vetos to cut a total of $900 million from a budget he labeled “unconstitional”:
- $7.5 million for family planning centers like Planned Parenthood and funding for women’s health (meaning that Christie has made cuts to funding for women’s health for two straight years in a row)
- $493 million in school aid (though Christie was ordered by the Supreme Court to send an extra $473 million to New Jersey’s “Abbott district” urban schools — who’s talking about being “unconstitutional”?)
- $17 million in salaries for mental health services and programs
- $1.5 million in services to the blind and visually impaired
- $10 million for a program providing legal representation for the poor in non-criminal cases (perhaps the governor finds this hard to believe, but not every one in NJ is a millionaire)
- $5 million in from the Children’s Behavioral Health (meaning that thousands of children with disabilities, including autism, and mental health issues will lose — if they haven’t already — funding for the early intervention therapies that everyone agrees is crucial to helping kids with disabilities succeed)
You can see a full list at PoltickerNJ.
Christie also cut $138 million in aid to New Jersey’s most troubled cities, Camden and Trenton, and hundreds of dollars for Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and for FamilyCare, the health plan for working poor people.
Christie said his cuts are necessary and accused Democrats of basing their budget proposal on “fantasy revenue found between the cushions,” and of “pandering to special interests” (like, you know, women, individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities and the working poor). Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who two days earlier had stood smiling beside Christie as he signed legislation to drastically overhaul employee pensions and health benefits, said:
“There are special interests. They are called seniors, the middle class and low-income families who the governor just decimated. We are just beginning to digest the cuts in the budget, but they are extremely cruel and mean-spirited.”
Yesterday, said Sweeney (who has a daughter with Down’s Syndrome), was the “most disappointing day in my entire career as a legislator.”
So you have some idea of what is being done with NJ state funds: Also on Thursday (i.e., the same day that the governor was “marginaliz[ing] the needs of working-class women” according to Democrat Vainieri Huttle), the Jersey Seafood Challenge was hosted by Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton, under the auspices of the NJ Department of Agriculture.
It’s really hard not to say it: Something is really feeling fishy here in the Garden State.
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Photo by Bob Jagendorf.