Message from ACNJ Executive Director Cecilia Zalkind
July 10, 2012
Good and Bad News in Final FY2013 State Budget
There’s good news and bad in the FY 2013 state budget, signed into law by Governor Christie last week.
First the good news. The budget includes $2 million additional dollars to reduce the number of children currently on the state’s child care waiting list. This was ACNJ’s budget advocacy, since the child care waiting list had grown to more than 10,000 eligible children.
This additional $2 million in funding, along with additional funds announced by the Department of Human Services prior to the adoption of the FY 13 budget, will make a real difference for parents needing subsidized child care to work or attend school.
This is an incredible win, in light of the current political and fiscal climate. This would not have happened without our collective advocacy. Through e-mails, letters to legislators and other communications, ACNJ and all of you – our partners in advocacy - were able to raise the visibility of child care and, as a result, secure more resources for children. Thank you for speaking up on behalf of New Jersey’s children.
A special thank you is due to Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Begen/Essex/Passaic), who sponsored budget resolutions to add the additional funding to the budget, and to the support of Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen/Essex/Passaic) and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Essex/Morris/Somerset/Union). Their championship for children is appreciated greatly!
And I would like to thank the parents who helped us tell their stories about the importance of subsidized child care to them. They put a face on the issue and made it too compelling to ignore.
And now for the bad news: funding to restore the FY 2011 cut to the state Earned Income Tax Credit was vetoed by the Governor. However, there may be an opportunity to address this in subsequent legislation, if state leaders can resolve the tax debate. We will keep you posted on action as needed.
Our success in securing more funding for child care has encouraged us to redouble our efforts to fight for investments in children. Over the summer, ACNJ will begin meeting with state policymakers to get a jumpstart on next year’s budget. We will also provide you with a more detailed summary of the final FY 2013 budget in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned, as we continue to work together to improve the well-being of New Jersey’s children.
But let me take this exciting moment to pause and thank you for your advocacy. It really did make a difference for children!
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