(The Center Square) – New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for $40 million in one-time payments for undocumented people living in the state.
Last week, the state Department of Human Services (DHS) launched a new website for its so-called Excluded New Jerseyans Fund (ENJF). It targets those living in New Jersey who were not eligible for previous federal stimulus programs, including undocumented individuals.
Under the program, eligible individuals earning up to $55,000 per year and with “a documented hardship” or lost income due to COVID-19 will receive up to $1,000. Eligible households will receive up to $2,000.
“The Fund is meant to alleviate the needs of New Jerseyans who were excluded from Federal Stimulus and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but were still impacted by COVID-19,” DHS Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said in a statement. “The better prepared individuals are when the application opens, the quicker they will receive the support they need if they are eligible.”
A prominent Republican seized on the announcement to blast the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, for handing out tax dollars to undocumented people.
“The Governor’s priorities are convoluted and unjustifiable,” state Sen. Michael Testa, R-Vineland, said in a statement. “He should have avoided this regressive tax increase on low-income earners. … The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services in Trenton estimates the new tax scheduled to kick in on New Year’s Day will strip $40 million from the pockets of New Jersey workers, matching dollar-for-dollar the money the Governor plans to hand over to [undocumented people].”