Senator Cunningham Statement On Budget Hearings

Senator Sandra Cunningham listens to testimony during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing.

TRENTON – Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s hearing on the FY 2009 Budget for the State Department of Health & Senior Services:

“With the recent closure of Greenville Hospital in Jersey City, I have been extremely concerned that the community’s uninsured residents would be put in jeopardy, unable to access necessary medical care. During this morning’s Budget Committee hearing I was relieved to learn from Commissioner Howard that the charity care funding allotted to Greenville Hospital will stay in the community to offset the increased costs that will be borne by other hospitals in the city.

“The State must take the necessary action to ensure that any closure of a hospital in economic crisis does not turn into a health care crisis for area residents. Keeping charity care dollars local will go a long way to protect residents in need.”

Senator Cunningham also commented after the Budget hearing dealing with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

“There’s a great deal of apprehension among New Jersey’s residents, especially when it comes to employment and the economy. With last year’s final job growth numbers in the State coming in around 4,700, when estimates had them closer to 30,000 and economic experts saying the country has entered a recession, we need to redouble our efforts in New Jersey to promote job growth and provide services that will connect the unemployed with those new jobs.

“At the same time that we are working to create these new jobs, we need to make sure that our residents have the training and knowledge necessary to succeed, at all levels of the workforce. Programs such as ‘Another Chance’, which look to help individuals recently released from prison gain the job skills needed to secure a job, provide the types of opportunities needed across New Jersey and should be expanded to include Jersey City and other urban centers.”