Earlier this year, CWA engaged in a process that will save the state more than $1 billion a year in health care costs without lowering the quality of care or simply forcing workers to pay more. We bargained these savings with the Governor where we could, and we worked with him to identify savings in other areas where we are not able to bargain them.
Following that, Governor Murphy made a very reasonable budget proposal: The $1 billion in savings would be met with $500 million in new revenue, and New Jersey’s unlimited corporate welfare programs would be reformed. It was a proposal that valued fairness and fiscal responsibility, and one that would put New Jersey on a path to fiscal health.
Our members responded with enthusiastic support. CWA members made over 12,000 calls to members of the New Jersey legislature to support the Governor’s budget, including a millionaire’s tax. Members met with legislators all over the state to talk about how a decade of tax cuts for the wealthy have impacted their families and the services they provide. And thousands showed up at the State House demanding a millionaire’s tax.
We are disappointed that the legislature would not support this plan. They were more than willing to accept the health care savings we achieved, but they were not willing to ask the super wealthy, who have been showered with tax cuts for a decade, to pay a tiny bit more. And following months of news of corruption and self-dealing in New Jersey’s corporate incentive programs, they shockingly voted to just extend those programs.
We welcome and support Governor Murphy’s decision to not shut state government down. And while we are disappointed the legislature is not joining the Governor, we enthusiastically look forward to joining him in his commitment to restoring balance and fairness to the New Jersey budget.
Finally, we could not be more proud of our members. Despite a decade of cuts in staffing levels that have left departments depleted, despite unending and vile attacks from the Senate President, our members continue to provide exceptional services for the people of New Jersey. They work around the clock and in all conditions in every corner of our state. We look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with them to continue to make New Jersey a great place to live.