In an expanse of neon green shirts, NJACP members, as part of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage, made an impression on Legislators in both the Senate and Assembly during the Coalition’s Lobby Day held on June 1st. At least forty Advocates, including agency staff, DSP’s, families and others spent the fast paced day in the halls of the Statehouse in Trenton discussing the DSP wage crisis and asking Legislators to include funding for a wage increase in the State Fiscal Year 2018 budget. This is the final month in New Jersey’s fiscal year with the budget required to be finalized by June 30th. The Coalition is asking for $36 million to fund a $1.25 increase for DSP’s in the SFY 2018 budget. The funding would be met with a federal match of $36 million for a total of $72 million. The campaign is a long term effort to raise the wage above $15.00/hour.
After months of Legislative visits, phone calls and information sharing from Coalition members, it was time to take the Statehouse by storm in a sea of neon green shirts and buttons requesting a raise for DSP’s.
All of the advocates were incredible in their efforts; literally lining the halls and telling their stories to Legislators making their way to committee meetings. Several committee meetings were scheduled, including the two most critical, the Senate Budget and Assembly Appropriations Committees. Advocates had the opportunity to talk to Legislators from both committees as well as Legislators who were members of 11 other committees holding hearings that day.
With many competing priorities in this year’s budget, including school funding and strengthening the public employees pension fund, advocates efforts are that much more meaningful and necessary.
NJACP thanks The Arc of NJ for organizing the day for Coalition members.
Thank You to the many NJACP members who participated in DSP Lobby Day!