The State of New Jersey has a budget gap. So when the governor noticed millions of unused dollars allocated for firefighters in times of need, he went after the money.
NEW JERSEY – The governor of New Jersey is attempting to use funds designated for firefighters and their families to fill the gaps in the state’s budget.
According to a report from CBS, the emergency responders are outraged over Governor Phil Murphy’s attempt to deplete the fund.
The governor has widely been criticized of his use of state tax funds to hand out benefits to undocumented migrants living in New Jersey while continuously taking from emergency responders and their families.
“It seems like we’re being penalized for doing the right thing,” Carlos Mercado, of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolence Association, said.
The relief fund was started in the 80’s and provides firefighters and their families with a way to get help when times are tough.
“Firefighters are always there to help others and this fund is intended to help them in a time of need,” Mercado said.
.@NJGOP Chairman @DSteinhardtEsq: “New Jersey’s brave firefighters and first responders are there for us, and now we all need to come together with one loud voice and be there for them." https://t.co/kdduJUYxQz
— New Jersey GOP (@NJGOP) May 7, 2019
The money is funded by a 2% tax on fire insurance policies written by out-of-state providers. ‘State and local boards can help firefighters with as much as $16,000 to cover burial costs in the event of a death, or give assistance if a current or retired firefighter’s family suffers a financial hardship.’
“This fund has saved both volunteer and paid firefighters from losing their homes,” Mercado said. “It’s kept widows in a warm house in the winter.”
But when Governor Murphy noticed the fund’s worth had risen to nearly $250 million, he set his eyes on using it to help close the budget gap. He says the value of the fund is worth 6 times what the firefighters actually need.
The issue of using the fund for the budget is being heavily debated with the firefighter’s union speaking out against the action.
“This has happened before, where other administrations have looked at this money as a quick money grab and we’re just not going to allow that,” Mercado said.
“We’re doing the right thing. Keeping the reserve, keeping the money where it needs to be,” Mercado said.
It seems as though New Jersey needs to take a closer look on how they spend their money.
Back in November of 2018, Governor Murphy allocated over $2 million to provide undocumented immigrants with legal aid to fight against deportation.
Then in February of 2019, the state offered over $25 million to send undocumented immigrants to college, while shooting down the same request for Gold Star Families.
New York passed funding college for illegal immigrants. Giving them 27 million. Yet they kill a bill that would help fund children of soldiers who died in action go to college. https://t.co/jjjLgAmbx3
— Wanabkay (@kaykahnup) April 10, 2019
“The spending choices of this administration are indefensible and irresponsible,” said Assemblyman John DiMaio.
The battle over the fund will continue as officials from both sides of the table sit down to discuss the matter.