What ‘Build Back Better’ Could Mean for N.J. Families


November 18, 2021

Editor’s note: The following story was published by Soundbite Services on Monday, Nov. 15. Cross-posted with permission.

What ‘Build Back Better’ Could Mean for N.J. Families

TRENTON, N.J. – The U.S. House of Representatives intends to vote on the “Build Back Better” plan this week, says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The historic social safety-net legislation, with its $1.75 trillion price tag, would mean a major investment for New Jersey.

About 88,000 uninsured people in the state could get health coverage for the first time through Affordable Care Act marketplace improvements in the legislation, according to White House estimates.

Renee Koubiadis, anti-poverty program director at New Jersey Citizen Action, said Build Back Better also would address some of the biggest challenges that have contributed to growing inequality, in the Garden State and the nation.

“It’s probably about a fifth of the cost of the New Deal,” said Koubiadis. “The fact that it’s based on tax fairness, making sure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share to really support these needs of the people, and being people-centered, are critical.”

She said Build Back Better would also provide much-needed support to low-income New Jersey families, including expanding the Child Tax Credit for another year. Parents of more than 1.6 million children in the state received the tax credit in October.

Although the bill has been trimmed significantly in recent weeks, it still has detractors, who primarily cite its cost and scope.

The proposal would mean savings on health-insurance premiums of hundreds of dollars a year for more than 113,000 New Jersey residents. Koubiadis said this is crucial, especially for older adults.

“We believe that Build Back Better certainly is a once-in-a-generation investment that will lower many of the costs of living,” said Koubiadis. “Lowering prescription costs, particularly for seniors, to no more than $35 per prescription would be incredibly helpful.”

The bill also includes funding to increase the number of affordable rental units. Build Back Better’s affordable housing framework would add 8,600 new rental vouchers in New Jersey.