(TRENTON) – The Assembly Appropriations Committee today passed legislation by Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) to create a new method of generating revenue for programs designed to improve the quality of living for New Jersey residents. The NJ Social Innovation Act aims to expand nonprofit healthcare programs in urban areas. “The public health crisis plaguing Camden City and many of our state’s urban centers will reach epidemic levels soon if left unchecked,” said Assemblyman Fuentes. “We have to address the problems that leave our residents with few alternatives to care and that ultimately become a burden on our taxpayers.” The NJ Social Innovation Act seeks to attract private funding for public programs aimed at reducing the cost of providing healthcare to low-income and uninsured residents. The Economic Development Authority (EDA) will administer the program and oversee a study commission established by the bill. The study commission will aid the EDA by determining a non-profit to receive the investment funds from private investors, and issuing annual reports detailing the progress of the program. “I am fully aware of how tight public funds are and how important it is to maintain a fiscally responsible budget in these harsh economic times,” Assemblyman Fuentes added. “The Social Innovation Act not only opens this door to new revenue, it also gives the state a process for exploring innovative methods of expanding capital for these important programs.” Sponsors of the NJ Social Innovation Act include Commerce and Economic Development Chair Assemblyman Al Coutinho, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, Appropriations Chair Assemblyman John Burzichelli, and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. The bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 6 to 3, and will now be considered by the General Assembly. ###
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