The following are Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco’s remarks as prepared for delivery during today’s Senate session debate on the Democrats’ proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. Senator Bucco, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, plans to vote no.
Sen. Anthony Bucco, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, stated that he will vote against the Democrats’ proposed FY 2018 budget, saying it is not in the best interest of the majority of NJ residents. (SenateNJ.com)
“Before I begin, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to my friend, Senator O’Toole and thank him for his years of service.
Senator – you have been an excellent resource for your fellow committee members and a true public servant. You will be missed. Thank you for all you have done for the people of New Jersey.
I think we can all agree that this was a very productive session. For that, I’d like to thank Chairman Sarlo, the committee, and all of the dedicated staffers involved in this process.
Governor Christie laid the foundation for a fiscally-responsible budget. There were no new taxes or major cuts in his plan, but there was still enough money left over to fund programs for those in need, and to make another record-high pension payment.
First, I want to be clear that there are a number of provisions in the budget we have here that I support.
We found a way to fund services to aid our most vulnerable residents, including the elderly, disabled, the working poor, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
We made a conscious effort to ensure people have access to quality health care. We increased funding for addiction programs, cancer research, and addressed fee-for-service.
Unfortunately, it seems that in the eleventh hour, the majority has veered off course.
I know that legislators and staffers on both sides of the aisle worked very hard this year, and I appreciate their efforts.
Too many major decisions were made without the involvement of the public or the consideration of legislators on this side of the room.
At some point, we are going to have to acknowledge that the high cost of living here is forcing families and businesses to leave our state for good.
Cutting three-part deals behind closed doors is the wrong way to make changes that will affect every New Jersey taxpayer.
For months, Senator Pennacchio and the other Republicans on the Senate Select Committee worked hard on a bipartisan basis to change the failed school funding formula.
Our goal has always been to find a long-term solution that lowers property taxes and gives students the opportunity to get a great education, regardless of where they live.
Senate Republicans were promised a seat at the table. We should have had the opportunity to weigh in on the final plan.
That promise was broken and now hardworking parents, teachers, and children in your district and mine will pay the price.
Many school districts will remain drastically underfunded and others will scramble to cover the cost of last-minute million-dollar cuts, after their budgets have already been set.
This school funding scheme fails to address the systemic problems with the formula. It’s a one-year fix that will be completely unaffordable without future tax increases.
New Jersey residents deserve a budget that they can trust and believe in.
The families we serve spend a lot of time figuring out how much they can afford to spend and save. We should do the same.
I hope that next year we will take an even more cautious and transparent approach to allocating their money.
Therefore, I will be voting no on this budget because it is not in the best interest of the majority of our residents.
I am hopeful that the Governor will take a hard look at every line of this plan and make the adjustments necessary to protect our taxpayers.
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