Burzichelli: Christie Administration Approach to Senior Citizens Increasingly Worrisome

Notes Cuts to Nursing Homes, No New Programs, Underfunded Property Tax Relief

(TRENTON) – Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) released the following statement Wednesday on concerns about the Christie administration’s senior citizens programs:

“Senior citizens must always be a priority, but after reviewing the governor’s budget and hearing testimony, I’m not sure the administration is doing enough. The ability of nursing homes to survive is in particular becoming a top concern under this governor.
“We’ve repeatedly heard about the adverse impact of the governor’s $30 million cut last year to nursing homes, which led to a like cut in federal funding. These funds were restored in the Legislature’s budget, then line-item vetoed by the governor, but to make matters worse, these cuts are maintained in the governor’s proposed budget. That would mean $120 million in lost funds for nursing homes in just two years.
“Also consider how property tax rebates/credits are still 50 percent of what they were in 2009. The Senior Freeze property tax relief program remains underfunded. And the governor isn’t proposing any increased benefits under the PAAD or Senior Gold prescription drug programs.
“It appears the only new thing the Christie administration would be doing for senior citizens is moving programs to an awkwardly named Division of Aging Services.
“The Christie administration’s current path when it comes to senior citizens is increasingly worrisome. Let’s hope we see a cooperative change in direction.”