While I posted a diary just yesterday morning, I felt compelled to write one again today given the impending action the State Senate will be taking on Monday, July 11th.
This Monday, the State Senate will convene at 10 am sharp in an attempt to override the Governor's cuts to the Democratic fiscal year 2012 budget. Yes, we are realists and fully appreciate that it is unlikely we will succeed given the wall of opposition the Republicans have raised. But it is crucial that we take a stand.
Every member of the legislature must go on record and either stand with students and teachers, with middle income families and with the most vulnerable New Jerseyans, who need a helping hand … or stand with Governor Christie and the politics of retribution and pettiness.
We all know the facts.
Governor Christie didn't like the state's revenue projections provided by our non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) ---- so he slashed the OLS budget. The governor didn't like the legislative map ---- so he cut funding for the Eagleton Institute of Politics, in a transparent jab at a respected member of the redistricting commission. He doesn't like dissent. And he doesn't like being held accountable. So he cut the legislature's budget, but not his own.
Fine. We’re all adults -- we can handle it. He's not hurting us.
Governor Christie's victims are the real people out there -- many of them children -- who don't know the governor, have never met the governor, don't care about politics, and never had any desire to tangle with the front office. But, make no mistake, they will be the ones bearing the brunt of Governor Christie's unnecessary cuts.
It's our college students who saw their tuition grants slashed. It's our teachers and school kids in dozens of suburban districts who are financing the governor's tax cut for millionaires through reductions in their statutory school aid. It's seniors in nursing homes, blind children in special schools and sexual abuse victims who have had their funding slashed. It's thousands of working-class women who won’t be able to get cancer screenings or receive pre-natal care. It's our municipalities that will be more at risk with fewer police officers on the street when funds for public safety are cut. It's those fighting AIDS, who need access to medications that well help them not only stay healthy, but stay alive. And it's families with special needs children, who need early screening services, that the governor also cut.
Since Governor Christie doesn't seem to understand this very simple point, let me be crystal clear: he is using the line item veto to practice political retribution, not fiscal restraint. And he has terrible aim.
New Jersey families are already being squeezed like never before, and its Governor Christie who is tightening the vice.
Monday will be a day of reckoning for every member of the Senate. You either stand with the people of New Jersey or you support the destructive politics of anger and retribution. You can't do both.
I will be proud to stand with my Senate colleagues in favor of middle-class families, kids, parents and teachers. I implore my Republican friends to do the same.