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Round-Up of Responses to Gov. Christie's Budget Address

18 Feb 2016 2:43 PM | Anonymous

On February 16, Governor Christie gave his budget address. Here is a round-up of responses to his speech from some of our partners:

New Jersey Policy Perspective:

The governor is holding out his proposed fix on transportation, apparently, until he can secure big tax cuts for New Jersey’s wealthiest families. But trading a gas tax hike for the elimination of the estate tax has absolutely no resemblance to “tax fairness.” In fact, it’s just the opposite, because it increases a broad tax that most affects New Jersey’s low-income and middle-class families while doing away with a narrow tax that affects only 4 percent of New Jersey’s wealthiest estates. 

Education Law Center: 

Public school children across the Garden State again are the big losers in Governor Chris Christie’s proposed FY17 State Budget. For a seventh straight year, the Governor is proposing no real increase in state school aid. The Governor proposes to increase school aid by just 1% over last year. If the Governor’s budget is approved by the Legislature, total direct state school aid will be $9.1 billion, slightly more than the $8.8 billion total in 2009-10, when the Governor took office. This amount includes the $500 million restored to urban districts by the NJ Supreme Court order after the Governor cut over $1 billion statewide in 2010-11. 

Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey: 

Highlights of the governor's budget address are below, but prior to reviewing those highlights it is important to note that the FY'17 budget is proposed, and must proceed through the full legislative process before it becomes finalized.  
Division of Developmental Disabilities - Proposed FY'17Budget
In FY'17 community spending is proposed to increase by $79.2 million, broken down as follows: 
* $10 million to fund community-based services for individuals currently on the Community Care Waiver Waiting List
* $13.2 million to fund community-based residential placements for 165 individuals currently living in one of the Division's five developmental centers, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision
* $10 million to fund costs associated with the transition to a fee-for-service system
* $5 million to fund 500 new housing vouchers
* $41 million to fund general Division growth (e.g., young adults turning 21 and aging out of special education services, emergencies, self-direction, annualized cost from prior year placements, etc.)
This administration is re-defining the way in which New Jersey supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through investment. Over the coming weeks and months, I encourage you to follow the budget proceedings and stay informed about the progress being made toward a finalized FY'17 State budget.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey:

The Governor recommended increasing state aid to schools by $94.3 million to $9.1 billion. School aid represents more than 27 percent of the $34.1 billion proposed budget. All school districts will receive an increase in funding.

While recent budget proposals included funding for districts with existing preschool programs, the FY 2017 does not. Preschool funding remains at the FY 2016 level of $655.5 million.

New Jersey school districts continue to receive additional federal funding to feed breakfast to hungry students.  This is the result of schools serving more children that all-important morning meal. ACNJ has led the NJ Food for Thought School Breakfast Campaign, which has succeeded in convincing more districts to serve breakfast during the first few minutes of the school day, rather than before school when students have not yet arrived.

The proposed budget continues the expansion of Medicaid for certain parents/caretakers and single adults without children, ages 19 to 64 under NJ FamilyCare. Since the expansion took effect on January 1, 2014, 434,000 low-income residents have gained health insurance through NJ FamilyCare, a 34 percent increase in program enrollment (including Medicaid enrollment). The FY 2017 recommendation also includes an additional $45 million in state and federal funds to annualize the increased reimbursement rates for certain primary and specialty care services offered through NJ FamilyCare that began in January 2016.

The governor’s budget continues the FY 2016 increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20 to 30 percent of the federal credit.

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