Monthly News & Updates

March 2023 | Issue 9

Tax Season is Almost Over! Contact NJCA for Free Filing Help

Getting your taxes filed or applying for tax relief can be intimidating, but we are here to help. Thanks to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), you may qualify to have your taxes prepared for free. As a reminder, you can still file taxes from previous years. The deadline to file your taxes is April 18, 2023.

Click here for more information and to set up an appointment

Snapshots around NJ

NJCA In Action

NJ Senate passes bill that critics say would hobble elections watchdog

-NJ Spotlight

"The 'Elections Transparency Act' that was passed by the state Senate Monday [March 20] would allow campaign contribution limits to double and would also give Gov. Phil Murphy a one-time shot at appointing commissioners to the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), which oversees the state’s campaign finance system.

'It is a bit ironic that they’re calling this the election transparency bill because this is anything but transparent,' said Liz Glynn, director of organizing with New Jersey Citizen Action."

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Anti-discriminatory safeguards sought in bank merger

-NJ Spotlight

"NJCA joined Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Tuesday [March 7] in asking the Federal Reserve to require a Community Reinvestment Act agreement as a condition of a merger of Lakeland Bank with Provident Bank.

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a historic $13 million Consent Order with Lakeland Bank for engaging in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination by redlining in the Newark metropolitan area.

In its filing with the justice department, NJCA noted that Newark has long been subject to predatory lending practices, redlining and price gouging, which have contributed to generational poverty.

'That’s why we stand with NJ Citizen Action in asking the Federal Reserve before they sanction this agreement, sanction this merger, that they should enforce what the consent order said by the Department of Justice,' Baraka said."

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NJCA Joins Call Against Corporate Tax Giveaway with CBT Surcharge Sunset

Together with labor unions and community groups from across the state, NJCA is calling on lawmakers to not let the Corporate Business Tax surcharge (CBT) expire later this year. The CBT surcharge only affects the largest 2% of corporations in NJ and amounts to a loss of $1 billion in annual state revenue.

"If our leaders reverse the CBT surcharge while we are simultaneously seeing a deep drop in federal funding, the state’s fiscal health will take a huge hit largely at the expense of our most vulnerable communities. All for a windfall for the state’s wealthiest corporations while jeopardizing funding for a host of programs that millions of residents need to achieve economic security." - NJCA Executive Director Dena Mottola Jaborska

Read NJ Policy Perspective's report on the dangers of ending the CBT surcharge

Want to do more? Become an NJCA Activist!

Event Tomorrow: NJ Paid Leave Train-the-Trainer

Join us Tues, March 28, 6:30-7:45pm for a Paid Leave in NJ train-the-trainer workshop for parents & caregivers!

Most employees in NJ are included in our paid leave laws and benefit programs so that they can afford to take leave to care for their health, their loved ones health, cope with issues related to domestic violence, and to bond with new babies and adopted & fostered children. NJ also guarantees most workers the right to earn a minimum number of paid sick days as well. 

Join us to learn more about these benefits & workers’ rights to take a leave in the Garden State so that you can help others in your community learn about their rights.

Register here!

Our Community

Lifting Up LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity in Paid Leave Policies

On March 15, the NJ Paid Leave Outreach Collaborative, organized by members of the NJ Time to Care Coalition and NJCA, brought together state officials, worker advocates, and LGBTQIA+ organizers to discuss health equity and access to paid leave for the LGBTQIA+ community. Topics included access to NJ paid leave policies and benefits, protections from discrimination and harassment, trans inclusion in the workplace, taking leave for mental health, and more.

"Being LGBTQIA+ and accessing information regarding resources can be confusing and difficult. We all deserve access to inclusive spaces that recognize us, whether you are queer, trans, intersex, or chosen family,” said Nat Moghe (they/them), NJCA Workplace Justice Organizer. “We all deserve to take time off for our mental health, to bond or care for a loved one, or to physically recover from an illness. Thanks to New Jersey’s inclusive programs and benefits, I have been able to lead a successful life and career as a trans, queer, person of color. It is our stories that liberate not only ourselves but others."

Watch a recording of the discussion here

Read our full statement

Nearly 300K in N.J. could lose Medicaid coverage as pandemic emergency ends

-The Star Ledger

"Beginning in April, New Jersey — like every other state in the country — must verify whether all Medicaid recipients remain eligible.

About 293,000 New Jersey residents, 13% of the caseload, are expected to be among those who lose Medicaid coverage, according to state Human Services officials.

[Many] will remain eligible and lose coverage anyway because they did not respond to mailings from the state Department of Human Services or their county boards of social services, urging them to provide proof of their income and family size. Some might never get those packets of information because they moved and did not inform the program of their new address.

State Human Services officials say they cannot stress enough how important it is for Medicaid recipients to keep an eye out for these renewal packets in the mail. If people are unsure whether the state has their current address, call the NJ FamilyCare help line at 1-800-701-0710 and provide it."

Read more

For free help signing up for health insurance, contact our enrollment assistance team

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Services Spotlight: Financial Coaching

NJCA offers free financial coaching to low and moderate income New Jerseyans. We can help you build a personalized action plan, understand your credit score and credit report, reduce debt including student debt, and more! Some of our clients saved over $100k with our help. We provide individual one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops.

Don't take our word for it, here's what a recent client had to say:

“As a leader of a non-profit, I am always looking for ways to show my staff how much their hard work is appreciated. Many of our employees are raising children, working more than one job, going to school, or paying off students loans. Self-care is so important in this field; by asking NJ Citizen Action to provide workshops and individual financial counseling, I was able to provide a service that gave people an opportunity to review their personal goals and develop a plan to reduce their financial stressors. I highly recommend NJ Citizens Action - thank you, Paula!”

Learn more and sign up for an appointment

Upcoming Events: First-Time Homebuyer Webinars

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Join us to learn about the homebuying process, the differences between owning vs. renting, housing affordability, your homebuying team, understanding the difference between pre-qualifications and pre-approvals, fair housing protections for homebuyers, free HUD-certified housing counseling, and exploring affordable mortgage programs and downpayment assistance available to you! Click a date to register:

Learn more

For more information on NJCA, visit our website

njcitizenaction.org and follow us on social media:

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