(TRENTON) – The Fiscal Year 2021 State Budget put forward by the Legislature on Thursday includes line item resolutions sponsored by Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato (both D-Atlantic) to maintain funding for Stockton University and invest in Atlantic County’s emerging technology sector.
The Stockton resolution adds an appropriation of $2.4 million for the university’s operating aid, restoring Stockton’s appropriation to its Fiscal Year 2020 level.
The second measure appropriates $250,000 to the National Aviation Research and Technology Park (NARTP) for development and operation in Atlantic County. The first NARTP building is under construction.
“The local economy in Atlantic County largely relies on the hospitality and leisure industries. As a result, it was among the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Mazzeo. “In June, unemployment in Atlantic County was 34.3 percent, more than twice the state’s rate of 16.4 percent. We need to work towards diversifying Atlantic County’s economy and expanding job opportunities. Investing in higher education and emerging industries like technology will help us strengthen our economy beyond COVID-19.”
The Assemblymen also sponsored a line item put forward by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) to restore $14 million for School Based Youth Services Programs administered through the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. The funding will support over 100 programs for children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs, as well as those with developmental disabilities or battling substance abuse. The initiatives also address issues like suicide prevention, dating violence, bereavement and bullying.
“School Based Youth Service Programs support children during challenging times, teaching them ways to cope and thrive in the face of adversity,” said Armato. “In a COVID-19 reality, these programs have never been more important. This pandemic will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our vulnerable youth. School programs provide children a safety net to work towards a brighter future.”
The FY2021 State Budget now goes to the Governor’s desk.