Gov. Chris Christie renewed talk about pension reform during his budget address, but some Democrats have resisted. Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer (D-36) told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the problems with pensions were addressed three years ago.
“We came to the conclusion, conclusions mutually arrived at by both Republicans and Democrats, conclusions we agreed to,” said Schaer. “We’re trying to suggest that pensions are the problem right now with the state and the reason that’s being done by some quarters is that we don’t have to confront the very real and difficult issues that are before us.”
Schaer said that the issues of the transportation trust fund, college and university funding as well as kindergarten to grade 12 funding needs to get solved.
As for coming to an understanding with the governor’s administration, Schaer says that he hopes everyone can sit down and work out their differences in order to get to better solutions.
Following the Senate budget hearings, Senate Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo said that he was disappointed and frustrated with what occurred at the hearings. Along with Sarlo, Schaer said that he was disappointed.
“I’m disappointed by a budget that doesn’t answer the state’s essential questions,” Schaer said. “I’m disappointed and frustrated by a budget which simply kicks the ball down the road and doesn’t answer where New Jersey needs to go and how it’s going to get there.”
Lawmakers have brought up ways to get more revenue into the state and a possible gas tax. According to Schaer, before any of those talks occur, there needs to be a better understanding of the budget.