New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Declines Invitation to Murphy’s Second Budget Address, at Football Stadium

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‘Rutgers Stadium? Seriously?’

Senator Joe Pennacchio announced today that he will not attend Governor Murphy’s outdoor budget address in Piscataway on Tuesday, opting instead to remain in district working on behalf of his constituents.

Senator Pennacchio will not attend Gov. Murphy’s budget address in Piscataway on Tuesday, opting instead to remain in district working on behalf of his constituents. (SenateNJ.com)

“District office phones continue to ring off the hook with calls from people who are struggling during the state lockdown,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Parents are concerned their children cannot attend school, businesses are failing because of the Governor’s arbitrary lockdowns, and there are long DMV lines. Many have been waiting months for unemployment benefits, and loved ones want answers about the deaths of 7,000 residents in long-term facilities.

“Holding the address in Rutgers Stadium is nothing more than campaign-style theater. There is no science except political science supporting this costly waste of resources intended to maximize the Governor’s television coverage and minimize interaction with the elected representatives of New Jersey workers, business owners, families and taxpayers,” the Senator continued.

S.H.I. Stadium, the home of Rutgers football, can hold more than 50,000 people, but on Tuesday, it will be under-utilized, with less than 120 legislators and their staff.

Pennacchio disagrees with the need for a second budget address.

“The Governor already held a budget address in the People’s House in February. My legislative colleagues and I were there,” said Pennacchio. “The current budget received a three-month extension with no additional ‘budget address’ necessary.

“The Governor has chosen a performance on the grand stage over the best interests of the people of New Jersey who are desperate for reforms to make living in New Jersey more affordable,” Pennacchio said.

“I question this silly political showcase. I do not believe legislators should be used as political props.”

Murphy introduced a $40.9 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2021 in February. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the budget calendar was changed and he is now proposing a 9-month budget plan that starts Oct. 1.

In the spring, Murphy extended the budget year through September, and in June the Governor and the Legislature agreed to a $7.7 billion stop-gap budget for the first three months of the fiscal year. The Democrats in both houses also approved the Governor’s plan to borrow almost $10 billion.

“This upcoming budget will be financed on the state taxpayers’ credit card, with our children and grandchildren getting the bill. I cannot be a party to that,” Pennacchio noted.

“Murphy needs to roll up his sleeves and start working with Legislature to find responsible solutions to the fiscal challenges ahead of us,” Pennacchio said. “If the Governor is interested in being honest and adding to the budget discourse, he must be transparent with New Jersey citizens and address his many COVID edicts and their consequences and costs.”

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