New Jersey Newsroom

Jerseyans Urge Congress To Avert $85 Billion In Sequestration Cuts

New Jersey Newsroom — Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Jersey Citizen Action, state partner of Americans for Tax Fairness, held a press conference today with Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, Irvington Fire Chief Gary Shumlich and other Irvington elected leaders outside the Irvington Fire Department to demand that Congress take immediate action to avert $85 billion in arbitrary, automatic cuts to education, public safety, mental health and other important services. These sequester cuts will result in the loss of 750,000 American jobs, including 43,182 in New Jersey in 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and threaten many services such as Head Start, Meals on Wheels, and job training for veterans unless Congress acts to raise revenues by March 1st. These cuts would compound cuts to municipal budgets that are already stretched thin due to State cuts to Municipal aid.

"Congress has a clear choice: continue protecting big tax loopholes for millionaires and multinational corporations or protect New Jersey's seniors, kids and working families from these cuts. Cities like Irvington can't afford teacher layoffs, cuts to kids programs, slowdowns in Social Security checks that seniors depend on to survive, and cuts to public safety programs that the whole community depends on," said Ann Vardeman of New Jersey Citizen Action.

"It's time we start helping our kids and vets rather than giving tax breaks to corporations that get away with paying no incomes taxes."

"Irvington has been hit hard by the economic downturn and state cuts to education and municipal aide," said Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith. "Our children can't afford more cuts to Head Start or more teacher layoffs. Our senior citizens can't afford to wait to get their social security checks or lose their meals from Meals on Wheels. We can't have women and children being dropped from the WIC program. Irvington and cities like us need the federal government to help us invest in our city and our children, not indiscriminately slash funding and cost our citizens their jobs."

"We saw how important our Fire Departments and first responders can be in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy," said Irvington Fire Chief Gary Shumlich. "During the Hurricane and its aftermath the Irvington Fire Department put out structure fires, removed trees from houses, opened and operated the Emergency Operation Center, and much more. If the sequester goes into effect on March 1, FEMA would need to reduce funding for State and local grants that support firefighter positions and State and local emergency management personnel, hampering our ability to respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and other emergencies."

"Small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs in America and instead of helping small businesses expand and hire, the automatic cuts triggered by a sequester would reduce loan guarantees to small businesses by up to $902 million," said Corinne Horowitz of New Jersey Main Street Alliance, a state network of local independent, small business owners. "Nearly half of the 43,000 jobs lost in New Jersey would be small business jobs. This could be devastating for the local economy here in Irvington and across the state."

Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of arbitrary, automatic cuts — called a sequester — will take effect. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that these cuts will slow economic growth by half in 2013. These cuts will put average families at risk by reducing funds and services including the following:

New Jersey's Americans for Tax Fairness partners will continue to encourage Congress to eliminate tax loopholes for big corporations and protect services and benefits for families and communities like Irvington.

Top Top | NJCA in the News | NJCA Homepage