My Testimony Today: State Budgets Are Investments

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Budgets also reflect values.

That’s why I urged the Legislature to reimagine the many ways in which New Jersey can empower young people by funding pending bill A-4663/S-2924 to make that kind of investment through community-based resources to support our kids and help them thrive.

You can watch my testimony here and read it here.

This transformative legislation will reinvest $8.4 million from New Jersey’s youth prison budget into the development of enhanced reentry services and restorative justice hubs in Newark, Paterson, Trenton and Camden. The bill was unanimously voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As New Jersey has rightly spent the last year saying it values Black lives, it’s time to put some money behind those words.

In order to do that, I testified today that the state must invest in several areas that will help New Jersey become a more equitable state:

  • Restorative justice and community-based programs to keep kids out of the youth justice system and help them thrive (take action here);
  • Community-based public safety models that include non-police responders;
  • Early In-Person Voting to expand access to the ballot, increase satisfaction with the voting process and have shorter lines on Election Day (take action here);
  • Elections Infrastructure to improve voter rolls and increase voter registration access;
  • Racially Just Redistricting to establish a more equitable democracy;
  • Baby Bonds to help close our vast racial wealth gap (take action here);
  • Expanded access to tuition-free college; and
  • Expanded homeownership opportunities, particularly for Black and other people of color.

You can also find opportunities to take action on some of these issues and others at our Action Center here, and support our work here.

Thank you, as always, for standing with us.

Andrea McChristian

Law & Policy Director, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice