In his state budget address today, Governor Murphy announced that his $32.4 billion spending plan, which would cover October 2020 through June 2021, aimed to “protect gains we have made, [and] at the same time move forward.” Despite the huge economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our state, gains were made for families, children and the child care system. The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the importance of child care, and this budget recognizes the need to support the people and businesses that care for young children and help families defray child care costs.
Highlights of proposed investments, which will use both federal and state funding to support children and their families include:
- $250 million for a joint program of the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Human Services, to support existing child care providers and to provide subsidies and tuition grants to working families;
- $10 million in preschool expansion funding for new districts, in addition to continuing to support existing programs;
- Continued incremental increases in the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families;
- A new “baby bonds” program that would provide approximately 72,000 babies born to qualified New Jersey families in 2021 with a $1,000 nest egg to help narrow the wealth gap.
ACNJ remains concerned about many proposed departmental cuts that may harm programs and services that families depend on, such as family support services, early intervention and lead poisoning prevention.
ACNJ is encouraged by the sustained commitment of the Murphy administration to investments in young children and the people who care for them. As more detailed information becomes available, ACNJ will provide updates and advocate for children throughout this unusual budget process.