Governor Murphy just signed the $32.7 billion FY2021 New Jersey budget into law, which covers all planned spending between October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. This year’s budget process was an unusual one and the pandemic made public input difficult. Despite these obstacles, there is some good news for kids in FY2021.
What’s in the budget for kids
The budget evolved since it was first proposed by the Governor on August 25th. Here are some of the significant changes that impact children:
- Expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to include more young adults,
- $10 million for preschool expansion,
- $25 million in extraordinary special education funding for school districts,
- $3 million to school lunch aid to make meals free for more students, and
- $5 million to the lead hazard remediation fund.
Restored funding from August 25th budget cuts:
- $1.75 million for the child collaborative mental health care pilot,
- $15 million for school-linked services,
- $1.5 million for the child advocacy center multidisciplinary team, and
- $3 million for family support services.
Cuts to the August 25th budget:
- The Governor’s “baby bonds” proposal, giving eligible families with children a $1,000 nest egg, was removed.
The budget also includes $250 million in federal dollars to address child care during the pandemic, including $150 million in tuition assistance for school-aged children (ages 5-13).
ACNJ would like to thank Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and Senator Joseph Vitale for their efforts to pass a budget resolution to set aside $3 million to help increase infant-toddler child care in communities with few options. Although the resolution did not pass, this was an important step to address the shortage of quality child care for our youngest children. As New Jersey begins to plan the next budget, ACNJ will make sure the voices of children and families are heard.