Skip to content

Budget Forum Great Success!

I had no idea how the Budget Forum, sponsored by the Coalition for Budget Justice, would turn out, but it was a great success — a model event that brought people together across the aisle to talk about some hard choices that need to be made.

Rep. John Kowalko and Rep. Paul Baumbach presented their ideas for how to move forward and educated the audience about the situation. Both emphasized the need for a balanced approach that includes both raising revenues and making some cuts. However, we cannot cut essential services, and we are pretty much down to the bone at this point.

Kowalko stressed the need to raise the corporate franchise tax and add two more brackets to the state income tax — so that those making over $125,000 and $250,000 pay  more than those making $60,000.

Baumbach emphasized the need to work together and suggested that a gas tax would make sense.

Most of the session consisted of Q&A. I was gratified to witness the smart questions being asked by informed citizens and also the civil tenor of the conversation. Perhaps the next session should be a public deliberation that gets citizens and politicians talking to each other about specific plans.

The most surprising part of the evening was who showed up. A large number of representatives from Sussex County came to hear their colleagues speak, including  Sen. Pettyjohn, Rep. Smyk, Rep. Kenton, Rep. Gray, Rep. Wilson, and Rep. Schwartzkopf. Citizens also included people from both parties. I would have expected higher turnout from the leaders and activists in the Sussex Democratic Party and the progressive community, but there’s a lot going on and people can’t make every event.

Overall, it was a good night, and it was particularly gratifying to see so many new faces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.