New Jersey Senators Release Report Detailing Serious Impact Of President's Budget On New Jersey

New Jersey Senators Release Report Detailing Serious Impact Of President's Budget On New Jersey

Report assails Bush's proposed budget cuts, examines effects on New Jersey

Washington - U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), members of the Senate Budget Committee, today denounced President Bush's proposed budget for the next fiscal year - a budget that makes significant cuts to critical programs and services that impact millions of New Jerseyans. From health care, education and transportation to homeland security grants, first responders, and energy assistance for needy families, the President's budget slashes funding for many of the programs and services most important to New Jersey families and communities.

"With the country on the brink of a recession, President Bush's budget continues to ignore the needs of working families in New Jersey and across the country," Sen. Lautenberg said. "This budget fails to lower health care and tuition costs, give necessary tools to state and local law enforcement and first responders, fix our jammed airports and highways or lower prices at the pump. Instead, President Bush's budget carelessly cuts funding for Medicare, Medicaid, education, state and local homeland security funding, protection of the environment and transportation infrastructure. By hiding the true costs of the war in Iraq and irresponsibly neglecting our needs at home, President Bush leaves a sad legacy of huge deficits and unmet challenges for future generations. This is an irresponsible budget and I will fight President Bush's misplaced priorities to make sure we match our budget with the real needs of New Jersey and the entire nation."

"Cutting some of the most important investments in our families while leaving out huge costs that will run up our debt - that's a budget double whammy that only this president could pull off," said Sen. Menendez. "He's leaving behind a fiscal legacy of lost opportunity, lost priorities and lost values. Health care, homeland security grants, the environment and education are areas in which we should be investing, but those are four of the areas which the president has put on the chopping block. The fact is that while President Bush left out of this budget enormous costs like the war and fixing the Alternative Minimum tax, he will leave behind a mountain of debt for our children and grandchildren. As a member of the Budget Committee, I plan to stand up for the safety and well being of the families of our state and the nation in the face of this cynical budget proposal."

A preliminary assessment of the president's proposed fiscal year 2009 budget uncovered a series of reckless cuts to programs and services critical to New Jersey families. The budget slashes homeland security grants to states, which help first responders and local governments prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks. These grants are especially critical for New Jersey, a state with several high-risk targets.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps more than 180,000 low-income families in New Jersey keep their homes warm during the cold winter, had its budget cut by 22 percent. The president also slashes New Jersey's Clean Water funding by 20 percent-funding which helps communities upgrade their infrastructure and ensure that water used for drinking, swimming and other recreation is free of untreated sewage and other contaminants.

In health care, overall funding for Medicare and Medicaid is cut by $200 billion over five years. Instead of putting resources into an already-strained health care system, the president is attempting to balance the budget on the back of our nation's seniors and low-income families.

The budget also eliminates or freezes funding for federal student aid programs such as low-cost Perkins loans and work study grants, programs that provide more than $60 million in federal aid to some 60,000 New Jersey students, many of whom, without this aid, could not afford college.

Additionally, the budget cuts Amtrak funding by nearly 40 percent, falling far short of what Amtrak says it needs to keep running. An Amtrak shutdown would strand the nearly 100,000 commuters a day who ride NJ Transit trains along the Northeast Corridor. However, this is just a smattering of the impact that this budget will have on New Jersey. To view the report click here for a PDF version:

Menendez and Lautenberg, both members of the Senate Budget Committee, pledge to work within the Congressional budget process to ensure New Jerseyans are not shortchanged by President Bush.