Gusciora to Christie: Help us Rebuild NJ Communities

Veto of Lawmaker’s Legislation Counterintuitive to Revitalizing New Jersey

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora criticized Governor Christie’s veto of the “Police Officer, Firefighter, Public School Teacher, Corrections Officer, and Sanitation Worker Home-Buyer Assistance Act,” calling it a “failure to recognize the longstanding, positive impact direct investment in New Jersey’s Abbott district communities can have.”

“It is deeply disappointing to see any initiative that you’ve been pursuing for nearly fifteen years fail on the governor’s desk, and it’s particularly disappointing when the legislation would do so much good for our urban communities,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).

Under the act (A-213), certain eligible public employees would have received state subsidies of up to $10,000 for a down payment on a home in the community in which they work, provided that they remain there at least five years.

“The fact of the matter is that public employees, when they work in a city like Trenton, or Newark, or Camden, often don’t live in those communities,” Gusciora explained. “That means that at the end of the day, they aren’t spending their income at the businesses in those cities, which desperately need an influx of cash.”

Gusciora’s legislation sought to encourage public employees in Abbott districts to live where they work, in the hopes that it would provide both economic and social benefits to those areas.

“It’s important that these people live in the municipalities they serve, as it helps build trust between the local population and themselves. If Officer Doe is a neighbor, the community benefits from his watchful eyes. If a teacher lives down the block, students have access to additional resources outside of normal school hours. This is a powerful way to rebuild some of our cities, to fight against blight and crime, by giving them something they desperately need: a sense of community.

“It’s troubling to me that our governor couldn’t see the need for this type of investment,” Gusciora concluded. “By continuing to sit idly by, by choosing to veto rather than to take positive, progressive steps, he is allowing our towns, cities, and our state to slip further and further into disrepair. It’s a shame that this governor continues to stand in the way of action.”