Senate President Sweeney on Consolidation, Taxes and Education
Steve Adubato and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) – NJ discuss how New Jersey can be improved through consolidation which can save money and avoid the need to increase taxes. Sweeney also talks about the public employee healthcare plans, investing in education and the importance of early education.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark. We're honored to be joined, once again, by the President of the State Senate of New Jersey, Steve Sweeney. Good to see you. Great to see you Steve. Thank you for joining us. Thanks. The last time you were here, we talked about the fact that you were forming a task force to look at state spending in the state. That task force met many, many times, came out with a series of recommendations. You want to go through some of them? Yeah Steve, you know, and it's a wide range, you know, we have to focus on new pension plans, new healthcare plans, trying to streamline our schools... The public employees? Public employees. Yeah. Because that's... who's paying the tax... who's paying that? We are. The taxpayers. And we... we're really at a point where you can't raise taxes anymore. We're taxed out in this state. Can't? Can't. We need to fix... How about if the governor...? We need to fix now. What about if the governor comes here next month or so on State of Affairs and says, "You know what? I'd rather not raise taxes again. But you know, we gotta find new revenue to support the programs that the people of Jersey want." You say? Well then, we have to reform government to find the money. That's what I say. We have to fix this place Steve. Look, last year there was a 1.5 billion dollar tax increase. That's way too much. And I went along with it because half of it's going to go away in a few years. Hold on one second. The taxes were raised, not on millionaires, but on people who earn over five million dollars a year, income tax. You went along with that because? Well, as part of trying to get a budget done, I don't like any of it. To be perfectly honest with you, I want to fix what's going on here. We're overtaxed in this state, and now we have to... now that we did this, now is our opportunity to focus on how we fix New Jersey. And fixing New Jersey is doing government differently. You know Steve, we have so many school districts in the state of New Jersey, and you have, you know K-4, K-6, K-8, when we were talking to former Commissioner Lucille Davy, we found out, the most important... Commissioner of Education? Former Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy. Right. That those schools don't always coordinate curriculum with the high school where they're..."