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Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in NJ - February 16th, 2024


Governor Murphy Announces Allocation of $95 Million From New Jersey's Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund

Governor Phil Murphy announced the allocation of over $95 million from New Jersey’s Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund to support critical programs tackling the opioid crisis, connecting New Jerseyans with tools to reduce overdoses and other harms of substance use, and supporting the treatment and recovery of residents struggling with substance use disorders. At the recommendation of the State’s Opioid Recovery and Remediation Advisory Council and with extensive input from the public, six programs addressing four priority areas – harm reduction, prevention and recovery support, treatment, and housing – have been identified to receive funding over the next two to three years.

“Today we are making a historic investment in life-saving and life-changing programs that will connect those suffering from a substance use disorder with the help they need. By bringing together service providers, subject matter experts, and those who have experienced firsthand the impact of the opioid crisis, we have identified key programs to maximize the State’s Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund,” said Governor Murphy. “Together, the services being funded will empower families and individuals in New Jersey who have felt the devastating impact of addiction, giving them the resources necessary to support sustained recovery.”

This funding will be invested in initiatives to bolster services and address the needs of those who have been adversely impacted by the opioid crisis:

  • $24 million over two years to expand harm reduction and drug user health services at authorized Harm Reduction Centers, and to deploy harm reduction supplies through partner organizations in high-need areas. This will support startup and expansion by the 32-and-counting Harm Reduction Center sites authorized under P.L. 2021, c.396 as implemented in 2023;
  • $17.505 million over three years to expand operations at New Jersey’s 22 Community Peer Recovery Centers, which provide treatment information and other resources in supportive, substance-free environments;
  • $9.025 million over three years to replace and add mobile units providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services in the community;
  • $19.5 million over three years to scale remote referrals to enable 24/7 connections to care from vetted treatment providers and harm reduction services. This statewide expansion aims to build upon federal funding that DOH is using to pilot the Medication for Addiction Treatment & Electronic Referrals (MATTERS NJ) platform in four counties;
  • $17 million over three years to bolster the supported housing continuum, including emergency shelter beds for immediate needs, short-term rental subsidies, transitional housing beds, and permanent housing assistance; and

$8.1 million over three years to expand the New Jersey Keeping Families Together program, which supports parents with opioid use disorder through housing vouchers and rental subsidies, case management, linkage to community services, and therapeutic supports.


NJ TRANSIT Named as One of America's Best Large Employers by Forbes

For the fourth straight year, NJ TRANSIT has been recognized by Forbes as one of the best places to work. This year the agency was named as one of the best large employers in the nation on the 2024 Forbes America’s Best Employers List. This recognition builds upon NJ TRANSIT’s standard of excellence after recently being named the winner of the coveted 2023 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) award for Outstanding Public Transportation System, from among the largest transit systems in North America.

“NJ TRANSIT’s latest accolade is further evidence of the agency’s comprehensive transformation since the outset of my Administration,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This significant honor confirms that NJ TRANSIT is not just a world-class public transportation system but a nation-leading employer as well, one that prioritizes the growth, satisfaction, and inclusion of the men and women who keep New Jersey moving.”

“Forbes’ prestigious and independent evaluation has once again recognized NJ TRANSIT’s considerable efforts over the past six years to build a culture of excellence, inclusiveness and employee satisfaction – this time naming us one of the best employers in America,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “This recognition reaffirms our position as an employer of choice in our region, and is a testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment of so many in our organization.”

 The 2024 Forbes America’s Best Employers List was compiled through independent surveys from a vast sample of over 170,000 U.S. employees working for companies employing at least 1,000 people within the United States. NJ TRANSIT ranked 178 out of all large employers nationwide, and in the top eight of all employers in the "Transportation and Logistics" industry.


Treasury Begins Mailing Applications for 2023 Senior Freeze Property Tax Reimbursement Program

The Department of the Treasury’s Division of Taxation on Monday began mailing applications for the 2023 Senior Freeze Property Tax Reimbursement program, which has been significantly expanded for the 2023 filing season to increase the income eligibility limit substantially and simplify the residency requirement for new applicants. 

Senior Freeze reimburses qualifying seniors and disabled residents for increases in property taxes or mobile home park site fees on their principal residences. A new law passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Phil Murphy, which was also part of the Governor’s FY23 budget proposal, expanded the program to increase the income limit for the program to $150,000 (previously $99,735 for the 2022 season), and eliminate the requirement that an applicant must be a New Jersey resident for 10 consecutive years.

The deadline to file 2023 applications is October 31, 2024. 

“With Senior Freeze, senior and disabled residents can choose to stay in the communities they call home without worrying about annual property tax increases,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “This program makes it easier for many seniors living on a fixed income to remain close to their families and friends, and continue enjoying all the Garden State has to offer. We are pleased to be expanding the eligibility criteria this season to offer this benefit to more New Jerseyans.”

In order to qualify for the reimbursement, taxpayers must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year through the current application year. Eligibility must be continuous, otherwise a new base year must be established.


New Jersey Surpasses Milestone of 100 Cannabis Dispensaries Open

Just three years shy of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s (NJ-CRC) establishment and just under two years into adult-use (recreational) sales, the agency’s dispensary directory now lists 102 medicinal and recreational cannabis dispensaries across the state.

“When the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission was established, our administration’s goal was to develop a stronger, fairer, and more equitable model for the rollout of an adult-use cannabis market. Reaching 100 cannabis dispensaries is a huge milestone that shows we are headed in the right direction,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “As we continue towards our goals for the cannabis market in New Jersey, I am grateful to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for their dedicated work and leadership on this critical area of our economy.”

The Commission’s executive director, Jeff Brown, worked with the former Medicinal Marijuana Program under the Department of Health prior to leading the NJ-CRC. He is excited about the industry’s growth. 

“This is undoubtedly a major milestone for the NJ-CRC and for the state,” Brown said. “After having just 12 alternative treatment centers for more than eight years, we have seen a proliferation of businesses in the last two that clearly demonstrates consumer demand and the potential of the cannabis industry in New Jersey. Recreational Cannabis sales hit $673,907,755 in 2023, and medicinal cannabis reached $99,588,104 for the first three quarters of 2023. There is every indication that the overall sales amount will rise this year and next.” 

As of February 14th, the NJ-CRC’s dispensary directory includes 40 that serve patients and recreational customers, 12 that are exclusive to patients, and 50 that serve only recreational customers. Despite more than 60% of New Jersey municipalities opting out of having cannabis businesses in their jurisdictions, cannabis businesses have operating licenses in every county, and there is at least one dispensary in 20 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.


Governor Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Way Announce Arianna Mouré as Executive Director of New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission

Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way announced Arianna Mouré as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission. With this appointment, Mouré becomes the first full-time staff member of the Commission.

“New Jersey’s Puerto Rican community adds to the unique diversity of our state,” said Governor Murphy. “Arianna has dedicated much of her career and spare time to serving the Puerto Rican community, having deep familial ties in the region. Puerto Rico has so much to offer, and I am thrilled to witness the collaboration that Arianna and the Commission will build on between our two regions.”

“Arianna has a great deal of knowledge and passion when it comes to the Puerto Rican community in New Jersey,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way, who also serves as Secretary of State. “Following Hurricane Maria, and the many other natural disasters that have struck the island, it’s important that we continue to stay connected and support Puerto Rico and the many families that have come to our state from the region. As the Commission continues to take shape, I am eager to work with Arianna to build on the New Jersey-Puerto Rican connection.”

The New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission, which falls under the Department of State, was established in 2020 with the Governor’s signing of S-2656/A-4188. In 2021, Governor Murphy announced 29 appointments to the Commission. The Commission was established in the wake of Hurricane Maria to build upon efforts to promote interconnectivity between Puerto Ricans living in New Jersey and on the island. In addition, the Commission will advance bilateral trade and investment, work on joint policy issues, encourage New Jersey companies to invest in Puerto Rico, and more. New Jersey is home to over 500,000 persons of Puerto Rican descent and it is estimated that 30,000 Puerto Ricans came to the state after being displaced by Hurricane Maria.

“Gratitude abounds, Governor Philip Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Way, for entrusting me with this remarkable opportunity,” said Arianna Mouré, incoming Executive Director of the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission. “I eagerly anticipate collaborating with Commission Co-Chairs Peggy Anastos and Jose Lozano, as well as the distinguished professionals who dedicate their expertise as Commissioners to the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission. Thank you for the honor and privilege.”