Gov. Phil Murphy today gave his budget address. His proposed budget includes record funding for public education, including increased funding for k-12 schools, a doubling of the amount budgeted for free county college tuition and additional funds to expand preschool education. It also includes a record pension contribution, continuing Murphy’s commitment to ramp up to full pension funding following decades of state neglect. Additionally, it includes a millionaires’ tax to provide resources to help the state better meet the needs of all residents.

NJEA’s officers, President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, released this statement:

“Gov. Murphy’s second budget is a progressive, people-focused budget that builds on the investments his administration has already made. It focuses on the things that working families need in order to thrive, including record investment in public education. It demonstrates respect for working people by continuing the path toward responsible pension funding with the largest pension contribution in New Jersey history. And it asks those who have benefitted the most from our strong economy to contribute their fair share so that everyone can look forward to a better future. It really is a blueprint for building a stronger middle class and a fairer economy that works for everyone.

“There is still work to do. Despite the record investment in public education, too many students will be hurt by drastic cuts to some districts’ budgets. The administration must work with those districts to ensure that every student, in every district, has access to the resources they need to learn and thrive. We should never let public education become a competition where some students win but others lose. We need to create the conditions for every student to win.

“We must also address the issue of skyrocketing health care costs for public school employees. Those unsustainable costs, imposed in 2011 and growing ever since, are pushing take-home pay down and driving people out of the profession they love. We are encouraged to see that through respectful collaboration and negotiation, state employees and the administration have come together on a plan to reduce those crushing costs while still preserving access to high-quality health care. That’s a win for everyone. We will continue to advocate for relief from crushing health care costs for school employees as well, along with job justice for the educational support professionals who do so much to make our public schools the best in the nation.”

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