To the editor,
When I decided to run for state Senate, I committed to make the residents of the 20th Legislative District my top priority in Trenton. I am proud of the FY 2019 budget and believe it is the product of a pledge I made to my constituents. This budget is a reflection of how hard I have been working to increase funding for our schools, our municipalities and our seniors, protect our safety net hospital in Elizabeth and bring back a motor vehicle office to the City of Elizabeth.
During the next seven years, every town in our district will see an increase in school funding beginning with a minimum 4.5% increase in the first year and a minimum increase for our towns over seven years at 22%. During these seven years, Hillside's aid increases by 67%, Elizabeth by 32%, Union Township by 22% and Roselle by 57%. These are significant changes that will make a real impact for our taxpayers. In the first year alone, Elizabeth's aid increases 4.6%, Hillside and Roselle 5% and Union 4.5%. There are also additional dollars for schools to improve their security infrastructure to help make sure that when our children are in their classrooms their focus is on their education.
During the budget process, I worked to help restore the full homestead rebate program with an additional $155 million. In effect, this restoration doubles last year’s property tax credits for seniors, the disabled, and working class homeowners. This budget also provides tax credits for child and dependent care and expands the earned income tax credit. This will be a huge benefit to the residents of our district.
The budget also increased funding to hospitals that provide critical safety net services to those who do not have insurance by increasing hospital payments to charity care by $10M. It is imperative that we keep our hospitals fiscally healthy while they care for our most vulnerable populations.
Finally, this budget reestablishes a MVC office back in the City of Elizabeth. The office will be a permanent mobile unit that will be able to meet the needs of the residents in and around the City of Elizabeth, which will be particularly helpful for those that have a more difficult time traveling.
I am very proud of this budget and the work we have done to accomplish these major funding initiatives for the residents of the 20th District. I will continue working every day to make sure we are protecting and educating our youth, supporting our seniors and the hard working middle class while continuing to provide the safety net services that keep our communities thriving.
Senator Joe Cryan
Editor's Note: In the interest of transparency, TAPinto Union's franchise owner/publisher, Kathy Cryan, is married to State Senator Joe Cryan.