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(TRENTON) ? Assemblymen John J. Burzichelli and Nelson T. Albano on Tuesday welcomed voter approval of the constitutional amendment they sponsored prohibiting the state from raising funds created to provide unemployment and other benefits to New Jersey workers.
The approved amendment (ACR-134 from the 2008-09 legislative session) bans state raids of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Temporary Disability Fund and the Paid Family Leave Fund.
?It was never right to raid these accounts that were funded by the wages of New Jersey?s hard-working men and women, but unfortunately we saw both parties do it repeatedly,? said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). ?It was long past time that we ended this, and I?m pleased the voters agreed. We now will more forward with a more fiscally responsible state government that protects the money set aside to help workers at their time of need.?
?Any raid of these funds was unconscionable, but we had to especially move to protect these funds as we continue to fight through this recession,? said Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). ?I knew the voters, if given the chance, would put a stop to this and help bring about more responsible state spending. I?m very pleased that from now on these worker funds will be used for one and only one purpose – to help hard-working New Jerseyans when they need it most.”
From 1992 to 2007, 19 laws diverted $5.359 billion from funds dedicated to benefits for workers. The largest portion was $4.7 billion in employer and employee payroll taxes from the UI trust fund, while $598 million was diverted from the TDI fund.