Institute Responds to Gov. Murphy’s Budget Address
NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Murphy’s budget address:
“There is much to be encouraged by in the budget proposal announced by Gov. Murphy today.
"We are heartened that Governor Murphy is investing $5 million toward early voting. It is more important than ever to invest in broadening and strengthening our democracy. Early voting – which we have long called for – will do just that.
“We are also pleased by the Governor’s emphasis on investing in our state in this moment of crisis to ensure that the most vulnerable residents of New Jersey are not further harmed by government cuts. In particular, the proposal to establish a Baby Bond program for New Jersey to help reduce our state's extreme racial wealth gap is a bold and welcome idea. For too long, public policies have supported asset development for well-off, predominately white communities while excluding communities of color, and this proposal is an important step in promoting wealth-building for families that have previously been left out of our state's prosperity. We support expanding the proposal to make a New Jersey Baby Bond program even more robust, and look forward to working on this initiative with the Governor.
“We are also encouraged by expanded funding to support universities to ensure that students do not bear the brunt of the fiscal challenges facing educational institutions, as we saw during the Great Recession and which contributed to our current student loan crisis.
“Additionally, we are heartened to hear that the Governor is eager to sign the important legislation sponsored by Senator Singleton and Assemblywoman Timberlake to help renters and homeowners affected financially by the pandemic stay in their homes.
“Finally, we fully support the Governor’s intention to re-evaluate New Jersey’s approach to criminal justice and to ‘take a scalpel’ to funding for prisons, as well as his statement that the state can ‘provide the comprehensive mental health and substance treatment many of our youth need to thrive.’ We do, however, urge the Governor to go further to invest in meaningful youth justice transformation, and to redirect funding from our state’s failing and half-empty youth prisons into community-based programs and services that keep our young people home—as we have continuously advocated for.”
“We urge the legislature to pass a budget that includes the positive initiatives proposed by the Governor today.”