(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) issued a multimedia package Monday on Assembly passage of a package of bills championed by the Speaker and Assembly Democrats that would lift people out of poverty and rebuild New Jersey’s middle-class.
Restoring New Jersey’s middle class prosperity by combating poverty has been a legislative priority of the Speaker this session. According to a recent report by Legal Services of New Jersey, more residents are living in poverty now than in the past five decades. The agency estimates approximately 2.8 million adults and 800,000 children lived in poverty in New Jersey in 2014 – 40 percent higher than before the 2008 Great Recession.
The multimedia package consists of Speaker Prieto discussing the need to rebuild the state’s middle class and the necessity of the bill package to meet that goal and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of the Speaker’s comments is appended below:
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson):
“Well, in the State of New Jersey we have a very big problem with poverty. We have 2.8 million residents in poverty, which includes about 800,000 children.
“In this Great Recession that we have had, we actually have 50 percent more individuals in poverty now than we did before the recession started in 2008. It’s important for us to be able to let these people, you know, know that somebody cares, and we have to start trying to lift them out of poverty.
“So, we have some bills today that help that goal.
“One of the bills we have today is for the Earned Income Tax Credit that will rise to 40 percent of the federal threshold. And this bill would actually put about $235 additional into each of those households that they could use to buy supplies for their kids; repairs for their cars to be able to get to work; and hopefully will help them out.
“We’re going raise Work First New Jersey that has not had, in 29 years, an increase. We’re helping these working families to be able to get a little bit more assistance.
“We’re also going to add 1,000 additional vouchers for housing in the State of New Jersey. New Jersey very expensive state to live and housing is an integral part of getting people out of poverty.
“We’re also going to put money in for lead abatement, that that’s so important as we hear throughout the country for the old infrastructure that we have, we need to invest.
“So, there’s a lot of things we’re going to collectively do during this year and I am looking forward to helping rebuilding the middle class. By us being able to lift them up and give them a little bit more, and show that we care for them, it’s how we’re going to spur our economy and it’s never a trickle down economy, it has to be a bubble up.
“So, as we give these individuals something to be able to lift them out of poverty, it will help each and every resident of the State of New Jersey.”