(WEST ORANGE, OCTOBER 30) - Schundler for Governor campaign manager Bill Pascoe today issued the following statement regarding a secret plan by Democrats in Trenton to push through Newark arena legislation on November 8, just 48 hours after the gubernatorial election:
“Anyone who wants to put New Jersey taxpayers on the hook to build a Newark arena without a referendum should vote for Jim McGreevey, and anyone who would rather see George Steinbrenner and the YankeeNets pick up the tab should vote for Bret Schundler. With word of a secret plan to bring back the enabling legislation just two days after the election, that difference becomes more important than ever.
“Since September 11, there hasn’t been much talk about reintroducing legislation on the Newark arena, and with good reason. With New Jersey’s economy in the doldrums and the State budget looking tighter by the minute, the last thing New Jersey lawmakers should be considering is issuing two hundred million dollars worth of taxpayer debt to build a sports palace for the YankeeNets.
“But that hasn’t stopped the arena boosters from working behind the scenes to push the Newark arena bill through the Legislature. Democratic Mayor Sharpe James recently told Business News that he had received assurances from Trenton leaders that the Newark arena bill would come up for a vote on November 8, regardless of who wins the gubernatorial election.
“If true, this midnight raid of the treasury is an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey. How can a lame-duck Legislature and a lame-duck Governor pass legislation in the dark of night that would stick the taxpayers of New Jersey with a $200 million tab that has to be paid off over the next 20 years?
“If elected Governor, Bret Schundler will make every effort to stop the passage of any Newark arena bill during any lame-duck Legislative session that calls for the issuance of taxpayer-backed debt. We challenge Jim McGreevey, as the leader of the State Democratic Party, to pledge that he too will work to rally his fellow Democrats to vote against any arena legislation during the lame-duck session of the New Jersey Legislature. The next Governor of New Jersey, as the duly elected representative of ALL the people of New Jersey, should have a right to have his voice heard on this important project so that the voters can hold him accountable for his decision.
“Jim McGreevey has made much of the fact that State debt has soared over the past decade. Well, now Jim has the perfect opportunity to tell the people where he stands on this debt-raising and potentially tax-raising issue. Does Jim believe the Newark arena bill should be passed in the dark of night during a lame-duck legislative session and signed into law by a lame-duck Governor? Or does Jim McGreevey stand united with Bret Schundler in saying that the taxpayers of New Jersey have a right to hold their next Governor directly accountable for making a decision on this project?
“We need to put the interests of the taxpayers of New Jersey above the special interests. New Jersey needs a Governor who will protect taxpayers -- New Jersey needs Bret Schundler.”