Earlier today, Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney announced a deal that would allow New Jersey to borrow funds from the federal government to balance the state budget. In response to this agreement, members of the For The Many NJ coalition release the following statements:
Sheila Reynertson, Senior Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP):
“This deal is great news for residents of New Jersey and will set the stage for a stronger and more equitable pandemic recovery. Borrowing at this level will ensure that the most important public services and safety net programs will be there for everyone, especially families who are already struggling. Lawmakers must now work to raise revenue by ending Christie-era tax breaks and require that the very wealthiest pay their fair share in taxes like everyone else. New revenue is necessary for New Jersey’s recovery in now and in the future; it will mitigate further cuts, allow the state to provide relief to those harmed most by the pandemic, and provide the state with ample funds to pay back any money we borrow from the federal government. The only other alternative is austerity — which always harms Black and brown communities the most — and that cannot be an option.”
Sue Altman, Executive Director, New Jersey Working Families Alliance:
“We are thrilled to see the Senate, Assembly and the Governor come to the table and work together to agree to this borrowing plan. New Jersey is facing a Fiscal crisis that will hurt working class people. We could see evictions, layoffs, massive cuts in funding to schools, at the time when help is needed the most. We applaud these leaders for showing party unity and getting on board with the Governor’s plan to save New Jersey from this fiscal cliff and avoid draconian austerity measures.”
Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action:
“Borrowing is the only way, in the urgent short term, to protect New Jersey’s low and moderate income families from profound financial hardship in the form of service cuts, tax increases and job loss. We are glad to see our leaders join in support of this necessary action and urge their continued dialogue on other more sustainable revenue raisers that will bring lasting economic security to New Jersey and our most vulnerable families.”
Sara Cullinane, Executive Director, Make the Road New Jersey:
“New Jersey has taken a commonsense initial step to put our state on a pathway to recovery. A million workers have been displaced. A half million immigrant families have been without relief for more than 120 days. With the fifth month of rent under the pandemic coming due, our state must raise additional revenues so that families of color and immigrant families most impacted by the pandemic are not left behind.”
Marie Blistan, President, New Jersey Education Association:
We are pleased that our elected officials agree on the need for responsible bonding to prevent budget cuts that would devastate New Jersey families and harm our state for years to come. We urge them also to explore other revenue options to ensure the long-term stability of our state’s finances and to protect our ability to invest in our key priorities. In particular we must find adequate funding for public schools and county colleges that are going to be asked to educate students under extraordinary circumstances in the coming year. Whether that happens in-person or through remote instruction, we must provide the resources needed to ensure that every student receives a safe, excellent education.
Barry Kushnir, President, IFPTE Local 194 and Hudson County Central Labor Council:
New Jersey is facing the triple threat of a public health crisis, economic free fall, and impact of institutionalized racism all at once. Now is the ideal time to invest in our state instead of cutting many of the programs that benefit people who need them the most. The NJ COVID 19 Emergency Bond Act is a reasonable plan to borrow during an unprecedented crisis and must be acted upon as soon as possible.
Julie Borst, Executive Director, Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing:
“Without the additional borrowing, our excellent public schools would be facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Public education accounts for approximately a third of our state’s budget. There simply is no way to make cuts of the magnitude that would be required without decimating our public schools.”
Leslie Bockol, Co-Executive Director, NJ11 for Change:
“NJ 11th for Change applauds this agreement. Senate President Sweeney made the right decision in finally joining the governor, and we are glad he and his allies now acknowledge the need to expand our ability to respond to the current economic crisis. New Jersey families need the state to maximize its flexibility to support and protect our economic future, our health, our infrastructure, our schools, and other essential services.”
Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Acton’s NJ State Director:
“We’re in the midst of overlapping economic, health, racial and climate crises. There’s no silver bullet but it’s great to see our state’s leaders coming together on bonding. It is a key step and, coupled with new progressive sources of revenue, ensures we’re moving in the right direction by enabling critical funding for transit, clean energy, water infrastructure, and so many other societal needs.”
For The Many is a statewide coalition of more than 30 organizations working collectively to expand funding for essential services and improve budget practices to adequately meet current and future needs, especially for communities that have been historically marginalized.
Steering committee members include: New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Work Environment Council, Environment New Jersey, Make the Road New Jersey, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Education Association, Communications Workers of America – NJ, Amalgamated Transit Union – NJ, Clean Water Action – NJ.
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