Assembly Democrats on Thursday said the Republican failure to support overriding the governor’s Back to Work NJ veto proves they would rather support tax breaks for dead millionaires over job help for living working class New Jerseyans.
The Assembly voted 45-32 on Thursday to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of legislation (A-3584) to create the Back to Work NJ program to stimulate job growth by allowing unemployed New Jerseyans to receive workplace training from a potential employer.
Every Republican voted against the override, which required 54 votes.
The bill was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
“This innovative program would have allowed out-of-work New Jerseyans to get the skills they needed and kept them tethered to the workforce even in the face of unemployment,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “It was just the kind of program we needed to tackle this recession and help workers and businesses alike to jumpstart our economy and move our state forward. It was disappointing the Republicans failed to support it.”
The sponsors noted the program’s $2.12 million cost for next fiscal year is much less than Gov. Christie’s proposed $11.5 million estate tax cut.
“It’s crystal clear now that Republicans would rather support tax breaks for dead millionaires than employment help for working class New Jerseyans struggling to find work,” said Cryan (D-Union.) “That’s hard to believe, but the Republican preference for policies that benefit the rich apparently know no end.”
“This program was so exciting because it would have given New Jerseyans an opportunity to get hands-on training to improve their job skills and make themselves more attractive to potential employers, but that wasn’t important enough for Republicans,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “We’re going to keep fighting for working class residents, no matter the Republican preference for the status quo and tax breaks for the rich.”
The legislation was based on the successful Georgia Work$ program.
Georgia Work$ is a Georgia Department of Labor initiative that allows unemployed job seekers who have registered for services to receive workplace training from a potential employer for a maximum of 24 hours per week for up to six weeks.
In Georgia, 36 percent of participants are hired within the first six weeks Beyond that, 6 percent found jobs in the next 90 days.
“We know this approach works,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “It would have benefited everyone, giving employers an opportunity to properly train potential employees and giving workers that chance to decide if the job is a good fit for them..”
“This is exactly the type of hands-on, practical approach we needed,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “Sadly, Republicans would rather give tax breaks to wealthy estates rather than job help for out-of-work New Jerseyans. That’s inexcusable.”