The first public hearing on the proposed state budget by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee was held at New Jersey Institute of Technology, chaired by State Senator Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen), ‘92, ‘95. 

The 2020 budget includes appropriations totaling $36.8 billion, with a projected surplus of $1.16 billion and projected savings of $1.1 billion.

“We are here today at New Jersey Institute of Technology, one of my favorite places to come for budget hearings,” said Sarlo.  “We want to hear from the public on the needs and priorities for the state’s spending plan. It is more important than ever that we find ways to capture savings and reduce costs so that we have the resources to meet these needs. We want to continue to be able to expand economic opportunities at the same time we have to hold down expenses for the taxpayers.”

Senator Paul A. Sarlo, chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Over 70 organizations had the opportunity to comment during the hearing, including school districts and education associations. During opening remarks, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom emphasized the importance of a STEM education to fuel the growing innovation economy.

“NJIT students receive three and four job offers upon graduation, starting salaries nearly 20 percent higher than the national average, and mid-career earnings that place us in the top-2 percent for return on educational investment,” Bloom noted while describing the significant demand for a STEM workforce.

NJIT President Joel S. Bloom during opening remarks at the hearing.

NJIT is ranked No. 1 in the nation for student economic mobility, which considers the percentage of students from the bottom fifth of the income distribution who end up in the top fifth after 10 years of employment. NJIT also recently earned the distinction of being named an “R1” research university by the Carnegie Classification®, which indicates the highest level of research activity. NJIT is one of only 131 universities nationally and just three in New Jersey — Princeton and Rutgers are the others — to achieve this recognition.

The next public hearing will be Thursday, March 28 at 10 a.m. at Salem County Community College.