TRENTON– “For a Governor known not to shy away from any subject, his State of the State address yesterday fell incredibly short of addressing the reality of New Jersey’s economic challenges, and the struggles of working families,” stated Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. Chair Charles Hall, Jr. “In his speech he was quick to talk about a drop in unemployment, but did not provide the context that many of the jobs being created are in low-wage industries and do not provide workers with the necessary means to take care of their families.”
“When it came to addressing income disparities in New Jersey, the Governor was vague and misleading, stating that ‘personal income for New Jerseyans is at an all-time high’. But that doesn’t address the fact that one in four New Jerseyans live in poverty, and the divide between rich and poor continues to grow” explained Hall.
“While our coalition agrees that property taxes are a financial burden we must work to reduce, we also believe that these costs are only half of the financial problem facing working families – the other being a need for stable jobs that pay a living wage,” stated Hall. “We also believe in restoring the property tax rebates which the Governor repealed, causing net property taxes to grow by 18.6% during his first three years in office and increasing costs for thousands of working families.”
“The Governor’s speech made no mention of our state’s single greatest economic victory of the year – raising the minimum wage and providing a modest income boost to 400,000 hard working families. Our coalition was proud to lead the “Raise the Wage” campaign which secured overwhelming voter support for the minimum wage increase on the 2013 ballot and reaffirmed that a fair minimum wage is not just a moral obligation, but an economic imperative,” stated Hall. “The fact remains that our communities, our schools, and our state is strongest when workers earn a decent wage.”
“Finally, when it comes to improving our schools, we believe that school repairs and construction is a matter of the highest importance, which will improve educational facilities and create good paying jobs. Our coalition is proud to renew our efforts in the coming year to work directly with New Jersey’s families to achieve real relief.” stated Hall.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots coalition comprised of labor, religious, community, civil rights, student, women, and retirees groups to engage New Jersey’s communities in the democratic process.