N.J. Legislature plans hearing on governor’s emergency spending cuts

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is likely to get an earful tomorrow at the first public hearing on his controversial plan to drastically cut some programs to save money.
    Interest groups are expected to speak out against Christie’s plan to withhold half a billion dollars in school aid, reduce hospital charity care, and cut state subsides for New Jersey Transit.

    (updated 2/17/10 @ 11:47 a.m. – TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he will need legislative approval to enact midyear budget-balancing measures.
    Christie last week ordered a freeze in aid to schools, hospitals, colleges and transit to close a $2.2 billion budget shortfall. He accomplished the cuts by executive order and said he did not need legislative approval. Christie now says he has the power to stop the spending but needs legislation to move some of the money into the general fund to balance the budget. )

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is likely to get an earful tomorrow at the first public hearing on his controversial plan to drastically cut some programs to save money.

    Listen:
    [audio: 100216PGHEAR.mp3]

    Interest groups are expected to speak out against Christie’s plan to withhold half a billion dollars in school aid, reduce hospital charity care, and cut state subsides for New Jersey Transit.

    Democrats in the legislature say those cuts may result in higher local property taxes, hospital closures, and higher transit fares.

    Assembly Deputy Speaker John John Burzichelli says the hearing may prompt the Governor to consider alternatives.

    Burzichelli: Maybe if there is an area that the Governor feels is a priority, testimony comes, maybe he would be persuaded that maybe that has to be eased a bit a we have to look somewhere else. But I can tell you there aren’t a lot of options. The pain is going to be there.

    Democratic lawmakers say they’re still hopeful Christie will work with them to find mutually acceptable ways of dealing with the state’s budget woes.

    New Jersey Governor Christie announced the spending cuts last week, and is using his executive order powers to bypass the legislature. The cuts do not require legislative approval but the hearings  will give opponents of the Governor’s plan a platform to air their concerns.

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