While the Senate Democrats attempts to overturn Gov. Chris Christie’s budget cuts this week failed along party lines, District 39 Senator Gerald Cardinale commented on six override votes. In each case, he stated that taxpayers of Bergen County should not be paying for services to the residents in other counties and as such voted against each override bill.
Below are his statements on each override bill.
* On SCR200 to appropriate $537,000 to the Wyonna M. Lipman Child Advocacy Center in Essex County, which is dedicated solely to the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect victims in Essex County:
“Senator Gil spoke eloquently, almost as eloquently as Senator Lipman did when she took the floor. She had the interest of her constituents really at heart. I believe in the debate, you spoke about the possible closing of this center; it seems to me that this $537,000 is not the total funding of the center. I understand that the center is also funded by the Prosecutors’ office in addition to state funding and is also funded by grants from DFYS, which is state funding through a different line item. When talk about this operation closing, you are leading the public to believe that this individual item that the Governor saw fit to reduce should be looked upon as closing this operation. This operation need not close, without this funding it will continue. Will it continue differently? I hope it will. I don’t come from Newark; I don’t come from Essex County. I come from another county, another district, where the people are heavily taxed to produce this money. And we have watched year in and year out our tax money given to other areas to provide services that are not provided to us. This is a wonderful place, it will continue next year as it did this year and hopefully without an excessive expenditure of state funds. The Wyonna House does work, similar to the work done in many other counties in the state. The Wyonna House unlike other centers in other counties uses other people’s money, by that I mean people from outside the county where it resides unlike other centers that funds itself. Newark used to be an economic engine of New Jersey able to support itself, but something happened and now it needs special attention that other counties do not get. Newark and its center and its very worthy work but it ought to set its own priorities for how it appropriates own money and look to other counties and how they fund their own centers and not come to other people in the state.”
* On SCR210 to appropriate $7.5 million for Family Planning Services including a transfer of $1 million of that appropriation to provide a match for federal funds under the Medicaid program:
“I believe any time a Planned Parenthood Center closes for the lack of government funding, if one has watched an expose on child prostitution, I think the people of this state are better off. You can make a case for every social program including this one. And not one of these items we’re dealing with today, individually, this one or any others is the end unto itself. But cumulatively, a few million here or there, suddenly, this is $7.5 million dollars is not a lot of money. But cumulatively, put them all together…$7.5 million is a lot of money specially when significant portion go to a Planned Parenthood organization, which in my mind is a promotion of child prostitution.”
* On SCR226 to appropriate $3 million for the New Jersey After 3 student services:
“There are many unfortunately in the state of New Jersey that are stuck on spending and just want more and more spending; and will dream up any kind of program (and) justify it so that money can be spent. There is no evidence that any good whatsoever if at all has come out of this program that there is any comparison between those in program and those are not in terms of benefit. This is not a cost effective program, it may do wonderful things or not, I’m not sure for the kids involved in it – but is another example of a particular interest being funded by the taxpayers of New Jersey at large to support someone’s project. I don’t think it is fair to the taxpayers of the state to fund as this bill does, a narrow interest. A broad program that affects all children it would be a different story. This is a program that is only useful in particular little areas and shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers at large. If this program is indeed so beneficial to the few children in New Jersey out of the total number of students, they why don’t the people of the county where the program is located, or the municipality where is located, why do they not fund it if it’s so beneficial. Why not tax your own people to help your own children. Why are you taxing the people of the 39th District and sending the money to other places. This appropriation has given exposure on how the people in some parts of the state are taking advantage of the taxpayers from other parts of the state. The people of the 39th District and many other districts like the 39th are being victimized by bills like this because the monies do not back back to our folks. If you want the program, wonderful, pay for it yourself.”
* On SCR216 to appropriate $50 million for Public Safety Municipal Aid in the Department of Community Affairs to provide municipalities that do not receive rural State Police patrol coverage and are in need of assistance for public safety, homeland security, and other purposes which promote safe and secure conditions for their residents:
“I represent District 39 that has 29 towns and many of those towns have faced a difficult choice of having to provide one or another service or eliminate one or another service. And some of them have found it impossible to keep the number of police officers that they had previously. It’s not unique to any part of the state; it’s common throughout the state that choices have to be made. And they are difficult choices and if we had more money, the choices might be different. I applaud the Governor’s choice to not eliminate all police officers in all of New Jersey but to eliminate this particular item which were grants.”
* On SCR 217 to appropriate $47 million for the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ):
“The UEZ program is a program that I have always supported and is a program I voted in favor of. But it was never intended to be a permanent program. The Governor’s veto did not eliminate the UEZ program, it simply took $47 million of the funds that would have gone to those municipalities away from the municipalities. Now I would challenge anyone to demonstrate that the UEZ program has actually put any municipality in the kind of shape where it could get off this program and if one does exist, then why is it still a UEZ municipality. And I can point to the fact that of the money in the funds that municipalities still have available is $187 million so the governor has not taken all of the money. He has just taken a certain small percentage so it could e used to benefit all of the people in the state when it is in fact not being used effectively. We have many examples like this where folks get comfortable with getting extra help but the extra help does not seem to help them rise up by their bootstraps but instead mire them in their previous condition. While I have been a fan of the UEZ in the past, I am becoming skeptical of the UEZ program.”
* On SCR 219 to appropriate $139 million for Transitional Aid to Localities to assist municipalities anticipating difficulties making payments toward nondiscretionary or critical obligations including, but not limited to, debt service, contractual obligations, and public safety payroll.
“What this program does for the most part is reward waste and inefficiency. One of the recipient cities that I believe either last year or the year before got a new mayor. I thought that the new mayor offered some hope but was saddened that the first act of the new mayor was to take the mayoral aides and raise their salaries to six figures, where totally unqualified people should be rewarded. We should be rewarding communities that lift themselves up, not those that put themselves further and further into the whole."