PRESS RELEASE December-6-2018

Sweeney Joins With Jewish Vocational Services ‘Strictly Business’ Event

Discusses ‘The Need for Fiscal Reforms & Priority of Helping Those With Disabilities


West Orange – Senate President Steve Sweeney joined with Jewish Vocational Services at Mayfair Farms for the organization’s “Strictly Business” event yesterday, where he spoke about the importance of supporting educational opportunities, improving the lives of those with developmental disabilities and the priority of making systemic fiscal reforms to avert future financial crises.


“Continued support for educational opportunities and to expanding programs to help those with developmental disabilities are just two of the wide range of priorities that will be contingent in large part on our ability to make needed investments,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We have to make the fiscal and economic reforms needed to avert future financial crises, or we won’t be able to afford our priority needs.”


Senator Sweeney spoke about the recommendations of the Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup and how the work of the blue ribbon panel will help achieve the operational and structural reforms needed to restore financial stability and affordable government. The “Path to Progress” report issued by the 25-member study group provides a working blueprint to restore financial stability and affordable government.


The discussion addressed soaring pension and benefit costs, and ways to hold down property taxes, make government and school districts more efficient, assess the efficiency of our tax structure and leverage state assets. Among the recommendations are merging K-8 school districts into regional districts to improve the quality of education and promote efficiency, continue the progress of full funding for all schools, and have the state assume the costs of Extraordinary Special Education.

“We welcome the opportunity to hear directly from Senator Sweeney and we appreciate the ability to offer feedback. We all want a state that is prosperous and affordable and is able to provide support for the most vulnerable,” said Michael Andreas, Executive Director of Jewish Vocational Service of Metro West. “This includes support for programs that serve those with disabilities.”

Jewish Vocational Service serves more than 2,000 individuals each year representing a number of seemingly unrelated populations: adults with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, military veterans, and job-seekers of all ages.

The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup held its initial organizational meeting on January 30, 2018. Over the course of six months, the Workgroup held meetings that included presentations by policy experts on critical issues and robust discussion of the pros and cons of potential solutions. The Workgroup issued its report and recommendations on August 9, 2018.

(Photo attached courtesy of Sharon Stern: Photo: Chris Durkin, Essex County Clerk; Senate President Steve Sweeney)