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New Jersey Citizen Action Calls On State Legislature To Support Emergency COVID Bonding To Avert An Economic And Fiscal Crisis

Insider NJ — May 27, 2020

Trenton — New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) today called on the entire State Legislature to support an emergency bonding measure to avert the economic and fiscal catastrophe posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Murphy administration announced $1.3 billion in budget cuts and that New Jersey faces massive layoffs without new sources of funding and revenue. More than a million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment and the state's most vulnerable residents are already struggling to afford food, medicine, health care, rent and other necessities.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin pledged to bring Governor Murphy's proposed COVID-19 Budget Recovery Act to a vote in his chamber by early June, but Senate President Stephen Sweeney has yet to embrace the measure. State elected officials must agree on a three-month supplemental budget by the end of June.

"Without new sources of revenue and funding New Jersey won't be able to sustain basic, essential services, much less provide badly needed relief to state residents struggling throughout this pandemic," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. "Public workers are already overstretched by current demands. This massive budget shortfall could force the state and municipalities to lay off many in their ranks, including frontline employees such as health workers and first responders. It would stretch our overwhelmed unemployment system even further and have devastating consequences for families relying on state services to survive. We urge Senator Sweeney and the full Legislature to support this emergency bonding proposal to help avert this disaster."

NJCA noted that more funding was necessary to provide relief and assistance for New Jersey's most vulnerable residents. The advocacy group called on the Legislature to ensure additional revenue and funding was available to meet the most pressing human needs created by the pandemic.

"Without additional funding sources such as a millionaires tax we won't be able to deliver the relief so many New Jersey families desperately need right now," said Mottola Jaborska. "We need funding to enact the COVID rental relief program Senator Sweeney has proposed. We need to invest more in public health to protect against further surges of the pandemic in nursing and veterans homes. We need to ensure all families, regardless of citizenship status, have access to basic necessities such as food, medicine and shelter. We urge all our elected officials to work together to find the revenue and funding New Jersey needs to survive this crisis and rebuild."

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