June Policy & Advocacy Update
James Curtin, MBA, LCADC
This June brings with it so much anticipation and excitement. And we definitely need things in today’s world to get excited about. So many have struggled so much over the last year that those of us in the Acenda family are left truly in awe of the resiliency we have witnessed. Whether it be in the children, parents, communities or in our own families, we recognize there is so much to look forward to with the ending of the pandemic coming soon.
And for those of us in the social/human services profession, much anticipation occurs in June as to what the final state budget will look like. I must say that after witnessing countless hours of budget testimony virtually over the past few months, I am now even further convinced that when it comes to funding programs such as maternal health, children’s mental health, Veterans services, addiction prevention, treatment and recovery and so many other lifesaving safety nets, it appears bipartisanship in the great state of New Jersey is alive and well.
Now we wait to see what the final budget looks like. However, generally, we are confident old funding will remain at least static and new initiatives are on the horizon. Desperately needed funding increases for very specific populations such as those afflicted with opioid use disorders, experiencing long-term or pandemic related mental health challenges, enticing medical professionals to serve persons insured by Medicaid with diagnosable conditions or just for primary care, are long overdue.
Now we wait a few more short weeks to see what the final budget signed into law prior to July 1, 2021 will look like. According to the New Jersey Constitution, a balanced Budget must be approved as an Appropriations Act and signed by the Governor before July 1. … (As part of the final Appropriations Act, the Governor must “certify” the level of revenues in order to meet the constitutional requirement of a balanced budget.)
And we know this year’s budget contains unprecedented revenue. This excites us! But how long can it continue to excite us is the question? Given the reality that the Federal Government’s support to states for social/human services programs cannot continue indefinitely.
Thank God we have time to figure it out. So let’s get started now.
-James Curtin, Chief Business & Government Relations Officer