MONTCLAIR, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) — New Jersey lawmakers holding hearings on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget Wednesday heard from a Montclair University student who sits on the board of trustees.

Paterson Mayor Jeffrey Jones said the city is about to cut 30 percent of its police force, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

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Louis Castano told the Assembly budget committee that New Jersey is not adequately funding its public colleges and universities.

Castano and the school’s budget and planning director asked that a dormant capital bond issue be revived to fund maintenance and construction costs.

Republican Assemblyman Gary Chiusano of Sparta cut them off. He said pumping more money into higher education would mean taking it from elsewhere in the budget or raising taxes.

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The citizens group Better Choices New Jersey picketed before the budget hearing in Montclair. Spokesman Rob Duffey said Christie’s proposed budget protects the wealthy and businesses at the expense of working-class families.

“Gov. Christie’s budget proposal offers tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy that are paid for by New Jersey working families through higher property taxes and cuts to services that working families rely — such as education, health care, libraries and public safety,” Bill Holland said.

It’s the second of three public hearings Assembly lawmakers are holding on the Republican governor’s proposed $29.4 billion budget.

The Assembly and Senate must adopt a new budget for New Jersey by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

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