TRENTON, N.J. – Republicans on the Assembly budget committee voted against a $7.75 billion three-month budget that was made public only two hours before the vote.  They were dismayed that seniors and homeowners face cuts in tax relief and services while public unions still get raises.
 
“There is a complete failure to be transparent leading up to a very important vote,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “To cut all property tax relief specifically designed to help seniors and the disabled make ends meet is something that should never be voted for. The public deserves to know what is being voted on more than two hours before it passes.”
 
The Murphy administration agreed to a contract that delayed raises for public employees by a year and maintained the four percent pay increases given after working for a year. They will get up to 12 days of furlough.
 

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“What happened to all the reforms being touted the past couple years?” said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Union). “Taxpayers are on the hook and will face cost increases no matter what, just by losing tax relief, services and aid. Cutting tax relief is raising taxes.”
 
In the past, when the economy was strong, Democrats and Republicans worked on reforms to save the state money in various areas of government. Though the Senate introduced some legislation to reflect intent of the reforms, none have been passed.  And, the Assembly hasn’t introduced counterparts for most of those bills.
 
“All of the talk was about heavy hearts for having to cut services without any remorse that taxpayers are losing relief but also paying for public union raises and job security,” said Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “Everything is on the table to be cut except public employee pay raises. This is a mess of a process when there was a month to get things together.”
 
“This bill is nothing to be proud about,” said Asm. Rob Clifton (R-Monmouth). “It was made public at the last second and sacrifices the services and aid our least fortunate need without any thought about reforms. There are ways to save billions of dollars on the structural problems are make this bind so tight, but as usual they are ignored.”