New Jersey is the Titanic. State government is sinking in debt and deficit and Governor Christie has quite rightly sounded the alarm. It isn’t his fault that we’ve hit the recession iceberg, but unfortunately the lifeboat situation is perilous with few spots for all the passengers. As Captain of the ship, his responsibility is to ensure fairness. Some will be hurt more than others. Unfortunately, some cuts hurt our most vulnerable populations—low-income seniors and disabled.

Low-income seniors and disabled are getting hit hard by the cuts to the pharmaceutical assistance programs, restrictions put on the Senior Property Tax Freeze and the elimination of the homestead rebates. These financial hits will be exacerbated by the expected property tax increases resulting from drastic cuts in state aid to municipalities and school districts.

What are people living on Social Security or Social Security disability supposed to do? Stop taking medications? Not eat as much? Stop paying rent? “Shared sacrifice” must be fairly shared. If the State insists on squeezing low-income seniors and disabled for millions of dollars in “savings”, they may very well stop taking their medications, get sicker and end up in already-overcrowded hospital emergency rooms. How does that help anyone?

 

Marilyn Askin

AARP New Jersey Chief Legislative Advocate

Plainsboro, NJ