There is no good news in the New Jersey state budget for those on low or fixed-incomes. Low and fixed-income New Jerseyans are grappling as they do every year with the state’s crushing property taxes, the highest in the nation. Many older residents have become dependent on the state’s property tax rebate program which can provide at least some financial relief this year.
Governor Christie’s budget proposal includes freezing out new applicants and freezing funding at levels from last year which will amount to an average $282 unreimbursed property tax increase on low income seniors and disabled. This action could determine the feasibility of certain residents’ being able to keep their homes.
The current budget proposal also includes increasing the brand name drug co-pays from $7 to $15 for the state’s PAAD beneficiaries. In addition, PAAD beneficiaries are facing a large deductible of $310. Until now, there has been no deductible and AARP is concerned that this will prevent PAAD beneficiaries from purchasing the drugs they need when they need them.
It should be noted that low-income seniors will be confronted with these new costs in January of 2011 at the same time they are required to pay their Medicare Part B premiums. This could impact more than 100,000 of our most vulnerable seniors in PAAD. It can be expected that many caught in this triple-whammy will simply be unable to able to afford the increased costs. They could very well cut back on their prescriptions and endanger their lives.
AARP is committed to working with the Governor and the legislature to find ways to lessen the impact on the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Success in finding more affordable solutions will occur through the ability of every party to work together with true bi-partisanship.
This current budget proposal is foisting unaffordable measures on the state’s most needy and this is unacceptable. We must ameliorate this situation by fully-funding the Senior Property Tax Freeze, reinstating the property tax rebate program and eliminating the unaffordable PAAD deductible.
TAKE ACTION: Please call your State Senators and Assembly members and urge them to reverse this budget proposal. Urge them to instead work to protect New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens!
State Senators Hotline: 1-800-844-2272
State Assembly members Hotline 1-800-260-0130