At AARP New Jersey’s Day at the Capitol on May 20th, there was much praise for Governor Christie who joined legislative leaders at AARP’s advocacy summit.
The day-long program brought together Republican and Democratic leaders from multiple districts and included a 30-minute key note address by Governor Chris Christie.
The event began with speeches by New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver who spoke about their concerns over the fate of property tax rebates and the Senior Property Tax Freeze. Under the current budget proposal the programs could be limited or even eliminated. Senator Sweeney, and later Senate Majority leader Barbara Buono, noted that 48% of the beneficiaries of the property tax rebate program have an annual income of less than $10,000.
Governor Christie included in his speech his decision to restore the benefits of PAAD, the state’s prescription drug program for low-income 65+ and disabled individuals. AARP had been outspoken in its criticism of the recent budget proposal to mandate a new deductible and co-pay increases that could have endangered the 125,000 PAAD beneficiaries in the state. The Governor stated that he was able to restore PAAD benefits due to “higher utilization of generic drugs, expanded eligibility for enrollment in Medicare Part D’s Low Income Subsidy program and manufacturer discounts in the Medicare part D coverage gap.”
“On behalf of the 1.3 million AARP members in the state, we thank Governor Christie for ensuring that New Jersey’s vulnerable elderly and disabled who are participating in the PAAD and Senior Gold programs that will not have to pay higher costs for their essential prescription drugs,” said Sy Larson, AARP State President. “This is a life-saving decision!”
CALL TO ACTION
While we wish to thank Governor Christie for restoring PAAD and Senior Gold program benefits, still in jeopardy are the programs that would provide much-needed relief on property taxes.
Now AARP is fighting to restore the homestead property tax rebates. AARP believes that taxes should be based on the ability to pay and that property taxes ought to be affordable. New Jersey’s proposed state budget will eliminate the homestead property tax rebates this year.
We support legislation to restore the tax rebates and hope you will help us by calling your State Senator and your two Assembly members about this vital issue.
Call 1-800-844-2272 to reach your State Senator
Call 1-800-260-0130 to reach your two Assembly members
Call immediately as the final decision will made by June 10th!