Making New Jersey a More Affordable State
Steve Adubato and Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D) – NJ, Chair, Assembly Budget Committee, talk about the biggest problem in New Jersey: affordability. Assemblywoman Pintor Marin reviews areas in the state budget that can be decreased in an effort to avoid raising taxes.
"We are pleased to be joined by State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, who is Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. Good to see you, my friend. Nice to see you Steve. How are you? I'm great. I heard we are rolling in dough in the State House and you don't even know what to do with the money. Is that true or is that fake news? That's fake news. [laughter] You must be talking about another state. What is the truth? Money tight? The truth is... yes. I think it's been like this now. We've been talking about this issue for quite a few years. When we're starting to have a little bit of more of a restriction on the general fund, you start trying to identify areas that maybe you can cut, and certain programs that we have to make sustainable. Let's make it clear, I'm sorry for interrupting, the assemblywoman is actually the chief person, the head person in the Lower House on the State Assembly dealing with all finance budget issues. You have you listen to people come and talk about, "Hey, you need to... the state needs to support our program. We're doing important things for people who are suffering." And you want to be responsive, but we have a massive fiscal problem. State Senate President Steve Sweeney was actually coming on right after you. Because you know what? We need to stop talking about raising taxes, we need to consider consolidating school districts and other communities, and we need to deal with major additional cuts in health and pension benefits for public employees. You say? So, this this comes from our fiscal task force policy that we... Yep. did you participate in it? I did. I did participate on it with the Senate President. And obviously there was a group of ideas that you know... policy analysts, economists... all of them came together and identified quite a few areas that the state should look at and really consider doing. Obviously a lot of it is bold, tough decisions, but I think that we're taking a look at some of these to see what can really work. What happens if we do nothing? I think that that's not... we just can't afford to not do anything. What would happen? Well, as I said earlier, our general fund is becoming more and more restrictive, we really can't afford to pay more taxes, and we want to be able to keep our good New Jerseyans here and our college... and people graduate from our college doesn't stay here. We're losing them? We're losing them. Why? Like why would someone... I mean... you..."