"Economic progress can’t be made without social progress and social progress can’t be achieved without economic progress." - Governor Phil Murphy
As Democrats we stand for basic notions of opportunity, fairness and investing in people. I believe this budget meets those standards and provides the sustainable resources to move New Jersey forward. Notably, we increased funding for cancer research, charity care, seniors in nursing homes, programs and staffing for people with special abilities. We increased the Earned Income Tax Credit to cover more than 500,000 families, we invested in Pre-K and community colleges, increased school funding, we will spend $242 million on NJ Transit, and will contribute $3.2 billion to the public employee pension.
Some Budget Highlights:
- $21 million for seniors in nursing homes
- $20 million for workers taking care of people with developmental disabilities
- $20 million in wage increase for direct support professionals
- $10 million for charity care
- $6.7 million for District 37 schools
- $3.8 million for non-public school aid
- $2.5 million for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
- $2 million for cancer research
- $2 million for Holy Name Hospital's Palliative Care Pilot Program
- $1 million in Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program
- $1 million for the REED Next Autism Services Program
- $500 thousand for Smoking Cessation and Prevention
- $400 thousand for NJ Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders
- $250 thousand for Nourishing Young Minds Fund
- $250 thousand for Latino Action Network Hispanic Women's Resource
- $200 thousand for the Adler Aphasia Center
- $200 thousand for New Jersey 2-1-1 Partnership
- $200 thousand increase for Small Business Development Centers
- $150 thousand for Project S.A.R.A.H.
- $125 thousand for Governors Literacy Initiative
- $100 thousand for Historic New Bridge Landing
- $19 Medicaid fee-for-service rate for personal care assistance services
In the end, I was proud to vote for a balanced and fair budget.
Best wishes for a safe and happy 4th of July!
“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future” – John F. Kennedy
After midnight in Trenton a budget is signed…Read more
(TRENTON) – Assembly Human Services Committee Chair Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) on Thursday called the Governor’s heartless line-item budget vetoes of several critical assistance programs for needy families “quintessential Christie.”
Vainieri Huttle noted that two line-item vetoes, in particular, will have an overwhelmingly adverse impact on some of New Jersey’s poorest families – one that would have increased assistance for heating and cooling utility costs for those receiving food assistance benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and another that would have tied the amount of assistance provided under Work First New Jersey’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to the size of the household in the event that a family has another child.
“These programs, at their core, are designed to provide some of New Jersey’s most needy families with a crucial lifeline. Denying the adjustment of their assistance because of the birth of a child ignores reality and may mean the difference between whether a family can get by or is forced to descend further into poverty.”
“At the most basic level, these vetoes will harm our most vulnerable citizens - children born into poverty who must suffer the effects of even deeper poverty because their families will now struggle to do more with less. From a moral perspective, we should not be punishing children for their family’s struggles. From an economic perspective, we should be working to break the cycle of poverty in order to help families find the road to self-sufficiency.
“The Governor essentially took his ‘let them eat cake’ moment from over the weekend and doubled down on it with these vetoes,” said Vainieri Huttle.
(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), one of the lead sponsors of the Horizon compromise legislation, praised the agreement reached Monday to end the state shutdown and allow critical state services to resume and facilities to reopen:
“It is truly unfortunate that so many residents had their lives or their holiday weekend plans disrupted by this stalemate. Nobody wanted things to get to this point, but I am pleased that the Speaker stood behind his convictions because, at the end of the day, I think we’ve reached an agreement that puts the taxpayers first, protects democratic priorities aimed at safeguarding the most vulnerable among us, and reaches a fair compromise when it comes to our state’s largest health insurer.
“This legislation will protect ratepayers, increase transparency and maintain stability in the market at a time when there is a heightened sense of uncertainty. Having an independent actuary conduct yearly audits will ensure transparency, while monitoring for any exorbitant surpluses will help mitigate premium increases.”
(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle released the following statement Thursday on the FY 2018 Appropriations Act:
“I’m proud to support this year’s budget because it is a living, breathing embodiment of our values as a state, one that protects the most vulnerable among us.
“There is no reason – whatsoever – that a last-minute plan to overhaul the state’s largest insurer should stand in the way of ensuring that desperately needed funding continues uninterrupted for programs that support cancer victims, pre-school, special education, domestic violence victims and many others. Particularly during this tenuous time, when continued access to affordable health insurance is uncertain, we should not be toying with a plan that could hurt nearly half the people of this state.
“There is a time and a place for every policy debate, but not at the 11th hour when so many lives depend on the annual appropriations act. Using it as leverage to score a political win is dangerous and ill-advised.”