Lou in the News

A Proposal to Promote Moving Out

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 9, 2009
By Jonathan Tamari

Ever since Reggie Davis left the New Lisbon Developmental Center in Burlington County and moved to a group home in Voorhees, his personality has blossomed, according to his mother.

In the smaller, non-institutionalized setting, Davis, who was born with mental disabilities, bonds with friends, works a job, and can go get coffee nearly as often as he likes, said his mother, Pat Davis-Johnson. He even adopted a new look, a mohawk.

"He now exudes his individualism," said Davis-Johnson, of Newark, N.J. "I'm having a little trouble with his choice of hairstyle, but he's my Reggie and I love him dearly."

Citing Davis' case as an example of the benefits of community living, an influential South Jersey lawmaker introduced a plan yesterday that he said would move thousands of people with developmental disabilities out of institutions and into settings such as group homes or shared apartments that are more integrated into everyday life.

Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D., Camden) said his proposal would follow the lead of 10 other states that have largely done away with institutional care for people with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and spina bifida.

His proposal calls for closing five of New Jersey's seven developmental centers and moving 80 percent of the population, more than 2,000 people, into community settings within five years.

Corzine Proposes $2.1 Billion in Cuts

Bergen Record
January 2, 2009
By John Reitmeyer

Governor Corzine now faces a recession-fueled budget hole of $2.1 billion and plans to cut more spending, use surplus funds and hope for help from Washington.

The governor laid out the latest news on the state's fiscal outlook in the context of the faltering economy today. He said the total fallout for New Jersey from the ongoing recession is now pegged at $2.1 billion, up from the last estimate of $1.2 billion. All state revenue sources except for the lottery are down at least 5 percent, he said.

"The pace of fall off in revenues is picking up steam each month," he said.

To dig out of the hole, the state will cut $812 million in spending this fiscal year, with employee salary raises and pension contributions among the items in the crosshairs.

Some aid programs for schools and municipalities will also be curtailed as part of the broader spending cut.
Other programs, such as cancer grants and a new voting system, will also be casualties of the economy, he said.
Corzine, a former Wall Street executive, said he and staff went "literally, line-by-line" in the budget to find places to cut.  More details about cuts will be made public Monday, he said.


A New New Deal Could Ignite New Jersey’s Ailing Economy

Asbury Park Press
December 26, 2008
By Louis Greenwald

The fact New Jersey is caught in the throes of an international economic recession is neither escapable nor debatable. New Jerseyans are becoming all too familiar with tighter household budgets and the specter of job loss. On a state level, a precipitous drop-off in revenues threatens the future of the programs many rely on.

To be sure, this recession is not New Jersey's creation, nor can New Jersey solve it all on its own. But there are steps we can and must take to help the state and its residents.

Already, Gov. Jon Corzine and the Legislature have moved together on a number of initiatives to provide direct assistance to the families that need it most, ensure families don't lose their homes to foreclosure and give businesses the tax breaks and incentives they need to stay open.

All are things that need to be done. But we should take a page from history and use this economy as a means to undertake critical projects that can provide jobs in the short-term while building infrastructure that can serve the state for the long term.

In a sense, we may not be at the doorstep of another Great Depression, but there's no reason we should not be embracing another New Deal. Rebuilding roads and bridges and constructing new schools can be the means for creating the leading edge of a recovery.