Insider NJ

New Jersey Citizen Action Urges State Legislature, Governor Murphy To Action To Protect Workers, Families And NJ Economy From Pandemic

Insider NJ — March 16, 2020

Trenton — New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) today praised the state Legislature for taking up legislation to protect New Jersey from the many hazards of the COVID-19 pandemic while urging both the Legislature and Governor Murphy to explore all possible options to prevent a massive healthcare crisis from turning into a full financial meltdown. NJCA recommended, among other measures, a moratorium on home foreclosure and rental eviction, tax deadline extensions for tax filers and assistance for enrolling state residents in affordable health care programs. Last week, as part of the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition, NJCA urged the comprehensive expansion of paid leave policies and robust government outreach on current paid leave policies to help protect New Jersey workers and their families during this crisis.

"The public health crisis will impact the financial security of many New Jerseyans, but will be particularly devastating to low-income workers, workers of color, and the families they support," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, NJCA Executive Director. "The potential impact from the coronavirus on jobs and small businesses could lead to a significant loss of income for thousands, if not millions of people. We applaud the bills proposed by the State Legislature and urge our elected leaders take any steps necessary to ensure all New Jerseyans can meet their basic expenses and needs. We will also work with allies to ensure action is taken at the federal level."

"Thanks to the tireless efforts of Governor Murphy, legislative champions and countless advocates, New Jersey working families have access to some of the strongest paid leave policies in the country," said Yarrow Willman-Cole, New Jersey Citizen Action Workplace Justice Program Director and co-convener of the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition. "But during this nationwide health crisis we need to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. That means taking some important further steps to ensure all New Jersey workers have access to paid leave."

The State Legislature is scheduled to take up bills today involving many of NJCA's recommendations, including assistance to small businesses, workers and families, extension of tax deadlines and foreclosures. The legislative and government actions NJCA has called for include, but are not limited to:

"With the inevitable loss of jobs and small business income that will come from this health crisis, the state is going to have to put extraordinary economic safeguards in place by expanding on the precedents for natural disaster relief," said Brown Ruggia NJCA Financial Justice Organizer. "We are asking people to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. But they will not be able to do that, or recover from the crisis if they are evicted from their homes or lose other basic necessities because they cannot pay their bills."

"Our clients depend on affordable healthcare enrollment and their EITC (Earned Income Tax Credits) to make ends meet, care for their families and to stay healthy," said Naomi Anderson, NJCA Director of Volunteer Tax Assistance. "If New Jerseyans are unable to access these critical programs and services we will need coordinated assistance from the state and federal governments to protect our most vulnerable residents from the health and financial hardships caused by this pandemic."

Top Top | NJCA Homepage | NJCA in the News