WALL, NJ - Assembly Republican Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, said today’s news that New Jersey’s bond rating was downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service is a wake-up call that the Legislature needs to produce a responsible and sound budget, and not one that increases spending with no way to pay for it.

“There are far-reaching consequences to the Moody’s downgrade and it’s critical for the Legislature to continue the effort which started last year by reigning in government excess and waste and exercising fiscal discipline,” said Angelini. “The effect of an irresponsible spending plan would not only impact our credit rating, but hurt taxpayers, many of whom have been devastated by the recession. Fortunately, we finally have an administration that is committed to reforming government and the way it operates. We cannot return to the irresponsible spending practices of the past.

“It takes more than one year to undo the damage wreaked by the fiscal policies enacted under Democrat control of the Legislature and governor’s office,” continued Angelini. “The fiscal 2011 budget enacted last year is an indication that things are changing in Trenton, but we are only at the beginning.

“Moody’s didn’t send the message that government needs to spend more. If anything, my Democrat colleagues need to stop avoiding issues like pension and benefit reform that are contributing to our fiscal problems and confront this issue,” commented Angelini. “Even the Democrat-controlled house in Massachusetts passed healthcare reform legislation, recognizing it would save millions of dollars.”

Angelini said she was encouraged by economists at Rutgers University who said an economic recovery is beginning to take hold in New Jersey as the state added 18,300 jobs during the first quarter of this year in a report issued on Wednesday.

“The Rutgers report is another encouraging sign that we are headed in the right direction,” said Angelini. “In order to keep this momentum going, we need to enact a budget that shows we are serious about keeping our fiscal house in order, not returning to the bad habits of the past.”