For the Many NJ: State Budget Doubles Down on Austerity, Harming Families Hit Hardest by Pandemic

Earlier today, the New Jersey Legislature approved a three-month supplemental spending bill, which relies solely on budget cuts to close New Jersey’s revenue shortfall. In response to the spending bill, For the Many NJ releases the following statement.

 

Brandon McKoy, President of New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) and Co-Convener of For The Many NJ:

 

“This budget proposal, and the process through which it was developed, is an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey. We are in the midst of the biggest economic crisis of a generation, yet this budget does not deliver the relief New Jersey families need, nor does it meaningfully address the racial disparities that COVID-19 has laid bare. Instead, this budget relies solely on damaging cuts that will worsen the economy’s fall and further harm those struggling to make ends meet.

 

“Since the pandemic began, the Legislature has recognized the importance of expanding the social safety net with a flurry of new bills meant to support families who have been devastated by the pandemic. This budget does the complete opposite of that. Recent history shows that austerity does not work. New Jersey took a cuts-only approach to the Great Recession, gutting public services and programs to the bone, which dragged the state’s recovery to a crawl. Repeating this strategy means we have not learned from the mistakes of our past and will bring massive harm to workers, families, and businesses who are already in tremendous pain. The scope and impact of this crisis is tremendous, and this three-month budget fails to match it.

 

“Governor Murphy and legislative leaders could have avoided such drastic cuts if they had pursued new sources of revenue, starting with the reversal of Christie-era tax breaks given to ultra-wealthy families and big corporations. There is no good policy rationale to delay these reforms to the state’s tax code, and insisting on waiting for federal relief is no excuse to not do as much as we can on our own.

 

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has fallen disproportionately on low-paid workers and New Jerseyans of color the most and spared the state’s wealthiest households who are disproportionately white and overwhelmingly benefit from federal tax changes signed into law by the Trump administration. To once again balance the budget on the backs of New Jersey’s working families, those living in deep poverty, and Black and Latino communities will only further exacerbate existing inequities that are rife in our society. In this historic moment of recognizing the urgency of rectifying racial equity, we can and must do better.”

 

For The Many is a statewide coalition of more than 30 organizations working collectively to expand funding for essential services and improve budget practices to adequately meet current and future needs, especially for communities that have been historically marginalized. 

 

Steering committee members include: New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Working Families Alliance, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Work Environment Council, Environment New Jersey, Make the Road New Jersey, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Education Association, Communications Workers of America – NJ, Amalgamated Transit Union – NJ, Clean Water Action – NJ.

 

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