Daily Archives: May 17, 2011

>As A Matter Of Fact…Taking the family out of NJ FamilyCare

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May 17th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …


In defense of his plan to cut the state’s federally subsidized health insurance program for working poor families, Governor Christie recently asserted that New Jersey provides more access to Medicaid than any state except New York.

That’s simply not true.

In fact, if the governor has his way, New Jersey would have one of the nation’s most restrictive policies when it comes to the Medicaid program that provides affordable health insurance to working poor families who have no other options.

It is accurate to say that when it comes to children New Jersey is second only to New York in providing health coverage through Medicaid/ NJ FamilyCare. However, when it comes to providing affordable coverage to the rest of the family, Medicaid/NJ FamilyCare lags behind nine other states and is racing toward the bottom of that list.

Last year, the state cut the NJ FamilyCare eligibility level for parents in New Jersey from 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 133 percent of FPL. For a family of three, that meant a maximum yearly income of $25,000 instead of $36,000.

The state plans even further reductions this year by reducing that eligibility threshold to just 29 percent of FPL. That’s a yearly income of about $5,300 for a family of three. That’s also the same eligibility level for the welfare program, WorkFirst NJ. The irony there is that taking away the option of NJ FamilyCare creates an incentive for parents to stop working full time and rely on welfare in order to have health insurance.

If those proposed cuts are enacted, New Jersey would have one of the lowest eligibility levels for parents in the nation. Only Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas would have lower eligibility levels.

More important, however, is that research in New Jersey and nationally has shown that reducing the eligibility level for parents will reduce the number of children enrolled in NJ FamilyCare. That will only increase the financial pressures on emergency rooms and hospitals as it drives up the number of uninsured New Jerseyans.

Read more about family health insurance here.

View the press event with Senators Joseph Vitale and Loretta Weinberg and advocates on this issue along with the governor’s response.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, Gov. Chris Christie, health reform, Medicaid, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ.com, NJFamilyCare

>As A Matter Of Fact…New Jersey revenue projections

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May 17th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

New Jersey Policy Perspective president Deborah Howlett made the following statement about revenue projections presented today to the Assembly Budget Committee by the Office of Legislative Services:

While it’s great to hear that New Jersey tax revenues seem to have bottomed out and are beginning to climb, the state remains stuck in a very deep hole.

The Office of Legislative Services projects that revenues will approach $29.9 billion next year, an increase of $1.17billion over its current year estimates. However, even with that growth, the state’s revenue collections would still be $3.4 billion less than was collected in FY2008, the year prior to the recession. Almost all of the increase is driven by higher income tax collections fueled by the rebound on Wall Street. Revenues from sales, corporate business and other taxes are still below estimates.

The state must choose to invest these revenues wisely, using the money to restore the devastating cuts made to services and to pay into the state pension system. The money should not be used, as the governor suggested was his goal during his budget address in February, to fuel $2.5 billion in corporate tax breaks over the next five years. He’s already used $1 billion in future tax revenues to subsidize corporations and business since taking office. Those efforts have contributed to the state’s lackluster corporate tax revenue collections and have failed to create quality jobs. It’s time to abandon old, tired trickle down economic theory and embrace the reality that creating a strong, vibrant economy and attracting good, solid middle class jobs requires great schools, safe streets and the high quality of living New Jersey attained before the recession.

While the increase in revenue is welcome news, New Jersey still has far to go before it is made whole again.

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Filed under corporate tax breaks, Gov. Chris Christie, Millionaire'sTax, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, State budget, tax revenues, tax subsidies

>"Unfinished Business" To Be Discussed at Wednesday’s Middletown Library Board Meeting

>Tomorrow night’s (Wednesday) scheduled Middletown Library Board meeting on the surface seems rather innocuous and uncontroversial when you consider the course of events that transpired over the last few months between the Library and the Township Committee over surplus funds, but as we know appearances can be deceiving. The dangers that lurk under calm surfaces may be hidden from view but nonetheless still exist.

Having looked at the agenda for the upcoming meeting there is a discussion scheduled to take place title “Unfinished Business-Update” for line item #8.

Under this title a number of items will be discussed such as the Strategic Plan ,the Lincroft Needs Assessment and the Maser Consulting Proposal. Also under the auspices of this line item, a discussion will take place about the proposal received for engineering work for the Main Library parking lot.

This discussion could get interesting because this project was one of the priorities of the library’s Board of Trustees prior to the Township’s money grab last month, and as such, it was included in the agreement between the library and the Township on the $500,000 transfer of funds.

What make this interesting is that the Township’s trusted engineers of choice, T&M, would be the engineers on this project with no options given to the library for consideration of other firms, which means no competitive bidding on the project that could reduce costs and no say in the final design or outcome of the project by the library trustees.

So the question is, who will be watching out to ensure that the parking lot expansion project will be done properly and in a cost efficient manner? This is the first test for the Township to see if it can be trusted to do what’s right with the monies that will be given it by the library when the funds are finally transferred in the near future.

If you’re interested in attending the meeting it begins at 7:00pm and will be held in the Community Meeting Room of the Main Branch located on New Monmouth Road.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, budget surplus, Meeting, Middletown Library, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, parking lot expansion, T and M Engineering, unfinished business

>Join Congressman Rush Holt For Two Town Hall Forums On Medicare

>Congressman Rush Holt will join federal Medicare officials to host two town hall forums in central New Jersey. Please join him to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the future of Medicare.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
1:00-2:30 p.m.
Monroe Township Public Library
4 Municipal Plaza
Monroe Township, NJ 08831

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
6:00-7:30 p.m.
East Brunswick Senior Center
2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

“Last month, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed, over my objections, a radical and far-reaching national budget for 2012. The proposed budget would end Medicare as we know it. Under this plan, if you are under 55 years of age, when you retire you would receive a voucher from the federal government and then fend for yourself on the private insurance market. The value of these vouchers is designed to shrink, relative to the cost of health care, each year – so seniors would be required to pay ever-growing out-of-pocket costs in order to maintain the same quality of health care.

Fortunately, the Senate has not voted on the Republican Medicare privatization plan, so there is still time to protect Medicare. I firmly believe that we need a national budget that strengthens our middle class, not weakens it, and I look forward to hearing your ideas at this week’s forum on how we can best achieve that goal. “

– Congressman Rush Holt

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Medicare, medicare privatization, Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican budget plans, Seniors, town hall meeting