NJCA: Despite Achievements, Vital Issues Remain to be Addressed Following 2022 Lame Duck Session

New Jersey Citizen Action released the following statement today, January 11, 2022, on Governor Murphy’s State of the State address and the end of New Jersey’s 2021-2022 lame duck legislative session. 

Dena Mottola Jaborska, NJCA Executive Director:

“Governor Murphy and many champions within our State Legislature have worked tirelessly over the last 4 years to give New Jersey working families both the protections and the opportunities they need to prosper. Just this week, they halted a dangerous predatory lending bill and passed a bill that will help provide assistance to residents facing foreclosure. Together they have strengthened the State’s paid family leave, provided workers with earned sick and safe days, raised our state’s minimum wage, ensured millionaires pay their fair share of taxes, and made quality health care more accessible and affordable for many New Jersey residents through increased state subsidies, to name just some of their significant accomplishments. 

“But there remains a lot of work ahead as too many New Jerseyans continue to struggle even as the pandemic enters a new phase. With massive funding available from the American Rescue Plan, we have the unprecedented opportunity to make the reforms needed to ensure New Jersey is a state that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and politically connected. 

“We urge Governor Murphy and our Legislature to invest in New Jerseyans, rather than provide windfalls and tax breaks for corporate interests. We urgently need to expand affordable child care, better protect our low-income workers, keep our residents housed, provide needed relief for immigrants, and address longstanding racial and socio-economic inequities in health care, education, transportation, infrastructure, and environmental justice.  

“New Jersey’s immediate legislative priorities in 2022 should include: 

  • Addressing discriminatory policies that impact communities of color, including setting auto insurance rates based on a person’s education, or credit score (A111/S1657).
  • Holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for price-gouging, and making prescription drug prices more affordable for New Jerseyans (A2418/S1066).
  • Reforming the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) to address its policies that discriminate against families of color, and to ensure the program addresses the issue of deep poverty. 
  • Adding to the state COVID-19 rental assistance funds, which currently have all been allocated and will not be sufficient, and making direct homeowner assistance, which has not yet been distributed, immediately available to prevent a surge in evictions and foreclosures. 
  • Creating a state public bank that can fulfill unmet financial needs and address systemic economic inequities for families and small businesses, as detailed in the Governor’s executive order #91. 
  • Strengthening state paid leave programs in key areas to ensure equitable access, including job protections for those who take leave and improving claims processing times.  

“New Jersey Citizen Action looks forward to continue working with Governor Murphy and our State Legislature to ensure that our state’s working families, communities of color, and most vulnerable residents have all the opportunities they need to thrive and prosper.”