Page-6 | Full text of Gov. Christie’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Address | Economy | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 08th
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Full text of Gov. Christie’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Address

So I ask you again to pass this year the education reforms I put before you in my State of the State address. We need to reform tenure. We need to pay the best teachers more. We need to expand charter schools in our failing school districts. And we need to give choice and hope to those students and parents now trapped in failing school districts by passing the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

It’s not enough and it’s not appropriate, to simply tell our most challenged urban families, trapped in over 200 failing schools, that “life’s not fair.” That is the expressed attitude of some in the educational establishment in our state. It is not mine. It can no longer be the attitude of this legislature. Our job is to make the future better for every child in a failing school. We cannot simply accept failure or even mediocrity. We must demand excellence.

The opportunity to get a great education should not be a function of the zip code you live in – it should be a hallmark of growing up in New Jersey.

And while money alone is not the answer, this budget provides strong support for K-12 education in the form of increased school aid. Last year, my budget provided an increase for every school district in New Jersey. In the budget I am putting before you today, I propose to increase school aid above last year’s level – by $213 million.

With this proposed increase, we will have increased aid to New Jersey schools by over $1 billion in the two years since I took office.

And this increase would bring the level of school aid in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget to $8.8 billion, an all-time record level of investment by our state in our school children.

In fact, we propose spending one of every three dollars in this budget on education. We are putting our money where our mouth is.

In the past year, you joined with me to undertake a key reform of our system of pensions and health benefits for state and local employees.

Once again, I thank you for your courage in enacting these reforms. We have shown the nation that it is possible to come together, on a bi-partisan basis, to address difficult long-term problems.

The reforms you passed will reduce the projected deficit of the pension system by over $120 billion in 30 years, putting it on a much more stable and sustainable footing for years to come.

Part of our agreement on that landmark pension reform was to commit to a phased-in increase of the state’s contribution.

The budget I propose makes good on that commitment and will fully fund the second year of that phase-in agreement.

This budget contains $1.1 billion for the state’s pension contribution. This is an increase of $587 million over last year’s contribution. This amount represents 3.42% of our entire state budget this year. In terms of absolute dollars, it is the single largest state contribution ever.

The pension reform we enacted has made employee pensions safer and more reliable. It has put us on a sound long-term track.

My proposal of $1.1 billion for pensioners in this state reinforces my commitment to the security and financial future of all public workers. Stand with me on this commitment. Let us live up to our word. I implore you, fund this pension contribution this year.

So much of our debate in this chamber in these past two years has revolved around the urgent need to cut spending. And our top priority has been to create the conditions for economic growth and job creation in New Jersey.

But as we do these things, we have to ensure that this growth benefits all of our citizens, including those with mental illness, with disabilities and with the most challenging economic and social circumstances.

In the New Jersey Comeback, we need all hands on deck. We need to tap the talents of every New Jerseyan.


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