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TRENTON)–Today Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) announced the introduction of a measure to reverse Governor Christie’s draconian cuts to nursing home funding in his fiscal year 2012 budget. Their legislation, A-2261, would restore $38 million in critically-needed support to New Jersey’s nursing homes–$19 million in state funding and $19 million in federal matching funds.

“The Christie cuts to nursing homes are just another example of the Governor balancing his budget on the backs of seniors and middle-class families while protecting lower taxes for millionaires,” said Greenwald. “Middle-class families who have made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home expect us to stand up and fight for them, not for tax breaks for the wealthiest few.”

“Nursing home residents in New Jersey are among our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and many have nowhere else to turn,” said Weinberg. “By restoring this funding, we hope to preserve the quality of care at these facilities and head off any potential facility closures that the Governor’s heartless cuts threaten to bring about.”

Nearly 29,000 New Jerseyans depend upon nursing homes for their health care and their residence. Currently, these facilities receive just $8.35 an hour per patient from the state to pay for 24-hour nursing care, meals, daily activities, as well as assistance with going to the bathroom, bathing, other personal hygiene assistance and more. Without such care, many patients would end up in the hospital–costing thousands of dollars per day, instead of the $200 per day spent by a nursing home.

“The Governor’s nursing home cuts are the very definition of penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said Greenwald. “These cuts not only threaten the quality of care delivered to our most vulnerable citizens, they will end up costing the state and the taxpayers more money in the long-run.”

“In these tough economic times, we must be crystal clear about our priorities,” said Weinberg. “Slashing funding for nursing homes while proposing even greater tax cuts for millionaires is not only bad public policy and bad economics, it’s against New Jersey’s values.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) will also sponsor the Assembly version.