Turner: Public Assistance Grants Aren’t Keeping Up With The Costs Facing New Jersey Families

TRENTON –Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, made the following statement today following the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing on the proposed FY09 budget for the New Jersey Department of Human Services:

“Even while the State looks to cut its budget in these difficult economic times, I worry that we are forgetting about those New Jersey families who are facing even more dire financial troubles at home.

“The cost of essential basic needs – food, housing, gas, clothes and utilities – continues to skyrocket. At the same time, wages aren’t increasing at nearly the same level, and public assistance grants for our neediest families have been flat for decades. Families can’t afford even the basics.

“After 21 years without a substantive increase in public assistance grants, it’s time that we give our neediest families additional help in facing hard economic times. While welfare should never substitute for a steady job and self-sufficiency, there are many families who, in spite of their best efforts, can’t make ends meet on there own. In those times the State needs to be there to provide a helping hand.

“I hope that we can find some additional cuts so that we can provide more aid to these families and help them make it through to a stronger economy.”