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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

N.J. PBA endorses Menendez coronavirus aid package

Bi-partisan bill will provide $500 billion to state, county, local governments

By David Wildstein, May 05 2020 9:15 am

The New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association is supporting legislation proposed by U.S. Senate Bob Menendez that would spend $500 billion to help state and local facing extraordinary revenue losses as a result of the deadly coronavirus.

The State and Municipal Aid for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Fund proposed by Menendez and Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana expands eligibility to include county governments and municipalities with over 50,000 residents.

“All across our state, more than 33,000 men and women of the NJPBL are on the frontlines, keeping our communities safe and putting their lives on the line during this pandemic. But their livelihoods and the services they provide each and every day are at risk if we don’t get the federal help we need to come through this crisis,” said state PBA President Patrick Colligan. “Senator Menendez’s bipartisan SMART Fund legislation will ensure our towns and cities get the resources we desperately need to keep law enforcement on the job and in our neighborhoods and urge his colleagues in Congress to pass it.”

The SMART Fund builds on The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which has set aid $150 billion, with a population threshold of 500,000 people.

Menendez said his bill would help avoid layoffs of frontline government services, including law enforcement.

“I want to thank all the men and women in uniform across New Jersey who have been an incredible force against the COVID-19 pandemic in our state,” Menendez said in a statement. “My bipartisan bill will ensure our state and local governments can continue providing high quality essential services, without cutting corners and initiating mass layoffs.”

Menendez said that if municipalities would be less safe if they were forced to reduce the size of their police department – something that the senior senator says would “cause our economy to tumble even further.

“We can’t let that happen,” Menendez said. “Our brothers and sisters in blue have always had our backs and we must continue to have theirs, especially during this public health and economic crises.”

Gov. Phil Murphy has endorsed the Menendez-Cassidy bill.

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