PLAINFIELD, NJ - All around our state and the nation, the biggest topic of conversation now is that of budgets. President Trump has proposed a budget that takes aim at some of the most vulnerable in our society. If adopted it will stifle America's competitiveness and punish hardworking citizens. Contradicting his campaign promises, his budget strikes at American companies with cuts to road, rail, ports and bridges.
Trump's budget will directly jeopardize the lives of the poor among us. Programs like Meals on Wheels often make the difference between subsisting and surviving for some people. It is a distressing and shameful thing to turn your back on the people who need help the most at a time when they are most vulnerable.
Even as he promises to a better life for Americans, he strips the institutions that protect the rights of workers and makes it more difficult for those who are working hard to get even a fair chance. It is more urgent now than ever before that we stay in close contact with our elected representatives in Washington and we speak with our votes for those who stand for fairness, empathy, and equality.
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Here in Plainfield, we have our share of issues to contend with; the Board of Education is facing a significant gap in its budget which calls for shrewd and careful planning for the upcoming school year on its part. While the City and the Board of Education are separate entities and operate as such, it is no secret that I am passionate about the education of our children. I firmly believe that when it is necessary to make cuts, education should be the last resort. We simply cannot expect to throw our children into underfunded, overcrowded classrooms and expect them to succeed.
Our young people expect us to advocate for them in situations where they cannot do it themselves and time, and again we seem to have failed them as a nation. But they have proven they are not without a voice, as they recently exercised their first amendment rights and assembled on the steps of City Hall to give sound to their disapproval over the proposed budget cuts.
I call on the Christie administration to listen to the voices of our youth here in Plainfield, all they want is fair funding for our local school district that will provide them with a fair chance to succeed.The flat fundingthat our school district received did not take into account the fact that a large portion of Plainfield's School Budget goes to fund the many charters schools in our city. The Christie administration must do better by Plainfield and its young people and provide fair funding to our school district.
For the past three (3) years my administration has presented a budget to the City Council that includes an allocation for social services and programs geared toward providing opportunities for those who need it most. Our Health Department and Plainfield Action Services provide real assistance to our residents who are in need.
Sometimes it is imperative to lend a helping hand, but I prefer to focus on solutions that are sustainable and can change life outcomes over the long run and not just for today. We continue to seek out job opportunities for the unemployed and offer seminars for free that teach business skills and provide information for entrepreneurs. We are focused on establishing a path to college for all our graduating seniors who cannot afford it. We've enacted legislation which supports quality of life for our residents such as the paid sick leave ordinance.
It is important as we go about trying to balance the budget and allocate resources that we remember there is more than just a figure behind the numbers. Budgets impact lives, and as public servants, those lives should be our priority. I can tell you that they are my priority.
Creating One Plainfield, One Future...
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield