Thousands of working parents – in the cities, suburbs and rural areas – struggle to provide for their children, often having to choose between paying the rent and feeding their children. That hurts kids.
ACNJ promotes family economic success through budget advocacy on the state and federal levels. Each year, ACNJ examines the governor’s spending plan to identify the proposed budget’s potential impact on New Jersey’s children and families. Throughout the budget process, we alert our network of thousands of supporters to proposed changes, encouraging them to urge state leaders to invest in children and families. When children and families thrive, our schools, communities and the state as a whole benefits.
Earned Income Tax Credits
Tax credits for low-income working parents are a vital economic support for families and a boon to New Jersey businesses, as many of these dollars are spent in the communities where these families live.
ACNJ has long advocated for expansion of these tax credits to assist more low-income working families. We succeeded in getting a state tax credit enacted in 2000. However, in state fiscal year 2011, the amount of refunds was scaled back from 25 to 20 percent of the federal amount. For tax year 2015, the NJ EITC amount increased to 30 percent of the Federal EITC. This tax credit supports welfare reform by rewarding work and increasing take-home pay for parents making the transition from welfare to work. ACNJ continues to advocate for full restoration of this critical support.
Expanding School Breakfast in New Jersey
After years of being nearly last in the nation for its participation in the federal School Breakfast Program, New Jersey is showing strong improvements. In 2017, the state moved to 19th nationally, compared to its ranking in 2011 of 46th for student participation in this critical child nutrition program.
This progress is due to the fact that a growing number of New Jersey districts have switched to serving “breakfast after the bell,” rather than before school, when most students have not yet arrived. This approach, typically done in the classroom during the first few minutes of the school day, significantly boosts participation, giving more kids the nutritious start to the school day that can help them concentrate and learn.
Since the program is federally funded, most districts with high concentrations of low-income children can feed all students at little or no extra cost, significantly leveraging the considerable investment New Jersey makes in public education.