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(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) released the following statement Wednesday after hearing testimony on the impact of the governor’s cuts to Legal Services of New Jersey and other legal assistance programs for the poor.

The governor cut $10 million from Legal Services of New Jersey. The governor also eliminated funding for clinical legal programs for the poor at Rutgers School of Law in Camden and in Newark. Both programs lost $200,000 under the cuts:

“We heard from a gentleman from Camden today who said he’s heard people talk about needing to turn to prayer in response to the governor’s budget cuts and as they weighed the impact to legal services on their community. He in turn told them, ‘God doesn’t need the money. Legal services do.'”

“I too am a big believer in prayer, but also in taking appropriate action.”

“His story reminded me of the old joke about a man who seeks refuge on the roof of his house during a flood. He turns away a person in a canoe, a boat and then a helicopter, telling each that God is going to save them. At the pearly gates, he asks God why he didn’t save him, and God tells him he sent help for him three times and he refused.”

“The moral of the story is we must take action into our own hands, and we have done this with this budget that responsibly boosted funding for Legal Services and maintained funding for vital health clinics for the poor. It’s unfortunate that the governor could not understand that, but perhaps after hearing today’s testimony he will do the right thing and reconsider these cuts, as he has with others.”