Phil Murphy will be blocked from taking $33M from needy firefighter relief fund, N.J.'s top Democratic lawmaker declares | 5/7/2019 | Staff
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New Jersey’s highest-ranking state lawmaker on Tuesday pledged to block Gov. Phil Murphy from taking $33 million from a hardship fund for firefighters in the state, a proposal that sparked outrage among first responders.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said in a statement that he is forcefully rejects Murphy’s proposed fund diversion and “guaranteed" it won’t be part of the state budget that is approved by the Senate.

Reason - Excuse - Firefighters - Support - Assistance

“There is no reason and excuse for denying firefighters support and assistance in their time of need,” said Sweeney, who is often at odds with Murphy, a fellow Democrat. “Refusing or reducing emergency responders and their families the care they deserve in order to prop up the budget is unacceptable."

NJ Advance Media reported Sunday that Murphy’s administration wants to shift $33 million from the New Jersey State Firefighters Association, which, along with 538 local relief groups, provides burial benefits, financial assistance, a retirement home and in-home medical care for New Jersey’s firefighters.

Gov - Phil - Murphy - State - Budget

Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed state budget diverts $33 million from the New Jersey State Firemen's Association following an audit that found lax oversight and tens of millions in unspent funds.

The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association was created 134 years ago to assist firefighters and their families in times of need. The vast majority of New Jersey firefighters are volunteers; fewer than 20 percent are career firefighters.

Organizations - Proceeds - Percent - Tax - Insurance

The organizations receive the proceeds of a 2 percent tax on insurance premiums written by out-of-state insurers for New Jersey properties. The state association took in about $33 million last year, and half went out the door to the Local Relief Associations.

But a December state comptroller report found the associations were sitting on $245 million in unspent funds because of overly strict rules on allowable expenses and that inadequate oversight left...
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