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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Justice group: Congressional budget cuts will hurt vulnerable New Jerseyans

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Thursday, September 28, 2023   

Economic justice advocates in New Jersey are calling on Congress to avoid deep cuts in the 2024 federal budget proposed by a small group of hard-line House Republicans.

Unless Congress approves a budget or an extension by midnight Saturday, the government will shut down.

Laura Sullivan, director of the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said the proposed cuts would deny food to infants and toddlers, reduce the number of preschoolers in Head Start, and slash the number of teachers in public schools. She argued the cuts will hurt people who are already struggling.

"New Jersey actually already has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the country, about $300,000," Sullivan pointed out. "And this will make things worse, leaving many families unable to make ends meet."

Sullivan noted the plan would slash the monthly allotment for fresh fruits and vegetables to just $11 for more than 100,000 New Jersey families, putting many on a waiting list. In contrast, she emphasized the U.S. Senate has moved forward with bipartisan bills rejecting the House's cuts.

Sullivan added the new funding proposals would also eliminate most major job training and federal work-study programs, kicking the mobility ladder out from under thousands of New Jersey students. She called the per capita income statistics used to justify the cuts "misleading."

"If you look more closely at the data, those high incomes are not equitably shared," Sullivan outlined. "Black families have just about $66,000 at the median. Latino families, it's about $72,000. Those are both lower than the national median in one of the most expensive states."

Sullivan said despite recent findings children are falling seriously behind in math and reading scores, proposed House funding bills would deny 900 New Jersey preschoolers access to Head Start, and cut almost 16,000 teachers from students in low-income school districts across New Jersey.

"New Jersey is already highly inequitable when it comes to wealth, health and education," Sullivan argued. "We do need to focus on reparative programs that help close our disparities. But we can't be cutting existing programs that provide important opportunities for people to make ends meet."


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