Last night Gov. Christie dashed the hopes of about 40,000 of New Jersey’s poorest children by keeping WorkFirst New Jersey assistance stagnant for yet another year, and kept in place an outdated policy that punishes poor children for being born.
By vetoing legislation, as well as budget language, that increased assistance and repealed the “family cap,” Gov. Christie is looking the crisis of deep child poverty right in the eye, and turning away without action.
This assistance hasn’t been increased in 29 years at the same time that rents have doubled. Leaving it where it is will only further increase income and racial inequality in our state. And the family cap has prevented over 20,000 poor kids from receiving assistance for no reason other than that they were born to poor parents.
By taking these punitive actions, Gov. Christie is putting New Jersey further out of step with other states, many of which have increased benefits and repealed the family cap in recent years, and with New Jersey’s Republican governors like Gov. Kean and Gov. Whitman, who have in the past supported and expanded WorkFirst New Jersey.