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Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney opposes firefighter fund diversion

By Nikita Biryukov, May 07 2019 12:33 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney came out in opposition to a provision in Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget that would pull $33 million from a fund used for burials, medical costs and other expenses for the state’s firefighters.

“There is no reason and no excuse for denying firefighters support and assistance in their time of need,” Sweeney said. “They put their lives at risk every day in service to others. Refusing or reducing emergency responders and their families the care they deserve in order to prop up the budget is unacceptable. I can guarantee that it will not be included in the budget that gets approved by the Senate.”

NJ Advanced Media first reported the diversion.

Murphy attempted to defend the diversion at a town hall in a Ewing firehouse Monday.

The fund, he said, had six times as many funds as it needed.

“This is a fund that is six times — that has six times as much money as it needs,” Murphy said Monday. And late, “I said this morning when I was asked this by the press, that’s something that we owe the firefighters to sit down and figure this out together, which we will do. It’s a very fair point to raise, and I meant to raise it.”

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