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Weinberg Statement On Department Of Human Services Budget Hearing

Chair of Senate Health, Human Services Committee Concerned ‘Budget Does Not Meet Needs of Most Vulnerable’

TRENTON — State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the chairwoman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a substitute on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today, issued the following statement on the hearing for the FY 2012 Department of Human Services proposed budget:

“I am gravely concerned that Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2012 State Budget fails New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations, including women seeking access to basic health services, senior citizens in residential care settings and New Jersey residents living with disabilities who may not receive the level of individualized, medically-appropriate care they need.

“I don’t believe that it was socially conscientious or fiscally prudent to leave millions of federal dollars on the table for women’s health initiatives because the Governor is personally committed to a conservative, pro-life political ideology. Because of the Administration’s failure to apply for funds, women will be unable to access basic services including cancer screening, prenatal and postnatal care, STD treatment and testing, and access to contraceptives. In the end, the Governor’s decision puts people at risk and does not save any taxpayer dollars.

“Additionally, cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities jeopardize the level and availability of care for people across the spectrum of disorders and severity of disability. Lumping all people with disabilities into a narrow model of community-based care ignores the realities that different people with different disabilities respond differently to types of care. We ought to continue to fund the treatments and care models that vulnerable New Jersey residents need, because budget decisions have a human impact as well as a fiscal impact.

“Hubert Humphrey was quoted as saying that ‘the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.’ The Department of Human Services is responsible for programs which address the foundations of a moral government. We should recognize and live up to our obligations to the most vulnerable New Jerseyans.”