I support unions. While the consequences of the recent pension deal between Governor Christie and Trenton lawmakers remains to be seen, now is the time for New Jerseyans to consider how best to protect the middle class in an era of high unemployment and declining pay. Unlike my opponents, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, I recognize that union membership translates into higher wages and better workplace conditions for Garden State workers. Handlin and O’Scanlon not only want to reform public employee benefits — an idea that has merits — they want to restrict the rights of private sector workers to negotiate with management.
Category Archives: Middle Class
>WASHINGTON – Speaking to the American people from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Obama discussed the vital role advanced manufacturing will have in strengthening our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. The President believes that realizing our nation’s potential requires more than simply cutting spending; we have to foster development at home, so that the United States will continue to grow and attract the world’s best talent, ideas and job-creating technologies. This week, the President announced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which will link the federal government with our nation’s finest minds to insure that our best ideas quickly become our best technologies. By providing American innovators with the resources they need to make their ideas a reality, our nation’s strong legacy of manufacturing, development and middle-class opportunity will continue to grow.
Over the next two weeks – as the Legislature rushes to produce a budget that won’t drown in the ink from the line-item veto pen – we’re all too likely to fully realize the “new normal” that Governor Christie talked about when he proposed his budget four months ago.
It goes something like this:
Rich people and corporations get tax breaks.
The middle class will pay more.
We will all have to make do with less.
Instead of a balanced approach that includes revenues – like the courageous governor of Connecticut proposed – New Jersey’s budget relies only on cuts in services.
Instead of finding ways to invest in building blocks of a strong economy – schools, police, libraries, health care, parks, roads and bridges – the governor has dug in even further, promising to veto any tax increase, including a tax on millionaires’ incomes that has overwhelming public support. Even as state revenues start to rise a bit in the recession’s wake, the administration in Trenton insists we can’t afford:
Health care for working parents if they earn more than $115 a week.
Women’s health care at family planning clinics, even though it means missing out on federal matching funds, an increase in unintended pregnancies and higher costs to treat uninsured patients.
Maintaining the state Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor families, who have seen their taxes increase by $300 a year – the equivalent of a week’s wages – while the wealthiest got a tax cut.
Meanwhile, the state has found more than enough money to hand out $1 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for developers and corporations, including some of the most profitable businesses in the state. Extensive research and plain old common sense show that these giveaways don’t create jobs.
That’s where we come in.
As we have for 14 years, NJPP is shining a spotlight on important policy decisions with the goal of having a state government that promotes broadly shared prosperity for all New Jerseyans instead of picking winners and losers.
We’re proud to be a leading voice for fairness in New Jersey, using solid research and strategic communications to strongly advocate for those who have the smallest voices in the public arena – the poor, working families, the disabled and other vulnerable people in our society.
And we couldn’t do it without you.
NJPP’s generous supporters understand why our work is so important to the vision of New Jersey they want for themselves and their children.
You’ve received several emails from us in the past week highlighting our work.
Now, we are asking for your help.
Please click on the “donate” button below and give to NJPP today.
By contributing you will enable NJPP to keep digging deeper into tough policy issues and widely share our findings to make a difference in people’s lives. Every donation counts, whether it’s $1,000 to print and publish one of our reports or $50 to cover the cost of copying documents requested through the Open Public Records Act.
As you follow what’s going on in Trenton with the budget and other issues over the next couple of weeks, I ask that you keep in mind the work New Jersey Policy Perspective is doing and the role that you can play.
Together, we can create a “new normal” that lifts up every one of us, not just the privileged few.
Thanks so much for your support – past and future.
Deborah Howlett, President
- Rich people get tax breaks.
- The middle class pays more.
- We all make do with less.
Most states, instead of relying solely on cuts to services – cuts that threaten jobs and economic recovery and hurt struggling families – have adopted a balanced approach that includes revenues. But the plan laid out by the governor was cuts-only. It would close state facilities for the profoundly disabled; continue last year’s devastating cuts to schools; and require deep reductions in health insurance coverage for people with no place else to turn.
Over the next month or so, lawmakers and the governor will work in Trenton toward agreement on a state spending plan for the coming fiscal year.
NJPP will be in the thick of things.
As we have for 14 years, NJPP is fighting for the return of fair and progressive fiscal policies that until recently provided opportunities for all New Jerseyans and prosperity that was broadly shared across the Garden State. In a series of emails over the next couple of weeks I’ll give you more details, but here are a few highlights of the work that NJPP is doing to make a difference.
- Senior Analyst Ray Castro is a leading voice in the independent and critical analysis of how cuts to NJ Family Care, the state Earned Income Tax Credit, and Medicaid will make it harder for poor and working families to get by.
- A study by NJPP and the national group Demos showed that a bill to deregulate telecommunications in New Jersey would cost consumers, especially the poor and the elderly. Using the findings in the report, NJ Citizen Action and AARP went to work on lawmakers and in a grassroots effort that included more than 10,000 phone calls to legislative offices they succeeded in getting the measure tabled.
- NJPP’s report on the proliferation of corporate subsidies is the foundation for ongoing efforts by the Better Choices coalition, of which we’re a member, to restore badly needed revenue. Made up of more than 70 nonprofits — including human services, education, religious, and labor groups – Better Choices is a vocal advocate for a proposal developed by NJPP to raise taxes on the wealthiest among us, those with income (not net worth, but income) over $1 million a year.
We’re proud to be a leading voice for common sense in New Jersey, and to strongly and clearly advocate for those who have the smallest voices in the public arena – the middle class, working families, the disabled and the most vulnerable in our society.
That work was spotlighted in a story published recently by the Asbury Park Press, which caught the attention of one of its hometown readers, rock icon Bruce Springsteen. Speaking of NJPP and our partners, Springsteen wrote in a letter to the editor, “These are voices that in our current climate are having a hard time being heard, not just in New Jersey, but nationally.”
Like you, and The Boss, we refuse to accept the idea that there’s a “new normal.”
Not here in New Jersey.
Not this year.
More to come…
Deborah Howlett, President
Deborah Howlett, President
>President Obama lays out his priorities for the coming discussion about tax cuts, calling for compromise but making clear he cannot accept $700 billion in deficits or an increase in middle class taxes.
>The President talks about his fight to make America work for the middle class and make sure hard work is rewarded — rather than greed and recklessness .