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(TRENTON) — State Senator Jeff Van Drew, Assemblyman Matt Milam and Assemblyman Nelson Albano (all D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic) today pledged to fight the proposed closure of the Vineland Developmental Center which was announced Tuesday as part of the FY 2012 state budget.

“As a member of the Budget Committee, I pledge to work with the governor on the many challenges the state faces in the upcoming year, but I cannot accept a proposal that will cause undue harm to our region while holding others harmless,” said Senator Van Drew. “Shuttering this facility would have a devastating impact on our economy, leaving 1,000 employees without jobs and residents who need critical care with nowhere to turn. I am committed to working with my legislative colleagues to reverse this proposal, and am confident that we can present a persuasive case to the administration for keeping it open.”

The proposal to close the Vineland Developmental Center — including its West Campus — would save approximately $3.7 million, according to preliminary budget documents released Tuesday.

“This facility is home to our most vulnerable residents, many who require a level of care that can only be provided in the developmental center,” said Assemblyman Milam. “We cannot turn our backs on them — nor can we turn our backs on the approximately 1,000 employees who work with the residents each and every day. This is about having compassion for our neighbors, but it’s also about protecting the local economy.”

“I recognize that everyone must share in the sacrifice in order to help the state through our extraordinary fiscal challenges,” said Assemblyman Albano. “But closing this facility would disproportionately affect residents in Cumberland County, which is the poorest county in the state. This is unfair and it’s unacceptable. I vow to work with Senator Van Drew and Assemblyman Milam to protect our residents, and to reverse this proposal.”