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Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in NJ - January 27th, 2023


Governor Murphy, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Governor Polis Join Forces To Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis

National Governors Association (NGA) Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis held a roundtable discussion with those on the frontlines of youth mental health care to advance the NGA Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper also spoke at the event, highlighting holistic efforts to support children and parents – including Tammy Murphy’s Nurture NJ initiative focused on maternal and infant health.

“The youth mental health crisis isn’t unique to New Jersey or California – it’s an issue that transcends both state and party lines,” said Governor Murphy. “From small towns to big cities, parents, children, and educators are confronting this struggle in their everyday lives. We need a comprehensive approach to not only connect young people with resources, but empower parents and teachers to identify signs of mental health challenges and provide positive support. By holding these convenings with Governors from across the country and across the aisle, we are working to raise awareness, encourage action, and find real mental health solutions that any state can make their own.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic pulled back the curtain on the severe mental health challenges confronting our nation, especially with regards to our children,” said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “As a country, we have a responsibility to ensure our youth are supported and cared for mentally and physically so they can get the best start in life. Here in California, we are working to address the youth mental health crisis through a $4.7 billion investment in transforming our state’s behavioral health system so every child can be routinely screened and supported and have access to best-in-class mental health services. I’m grateful to Governor Murphy and First Lady Murphy for prioritizing this issue - along with maternal and infant health - so all of us in the NGA can share best practices and work together to address these overwhelming crises.”

“Improving mental health and putting people first have been a top priority in Colorado where we’ve been working on bipartisan policies to give our young people the tools they deserve to help manage their mental health, including through our, which offers six free mental health consultations for students, and improving our behavioral health system," said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Governor Murphy’s timely and important initiative provides an important forum for Governors and states to come together to share examples of what’s working and learn ways we can reach more young Americans in need of mental health support.”

“Both youth mental health and maternal and infant health are crises that have affected our nation’s families for far too long,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy. “We are grateful that our platforms allow us to shed light on these issues and make necessary change that will positively benefit our constituents. Regardless of political party, we all must come together to find and provide solutions and resources for each of these communities in every state.”


Film Production in New Jersey Once Again Smashes Record

Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission announced that overall in-state production spending from filmmaking exceeded $650 million dollars in 2022, besting the previous record of $500 million set for 2021. The announcement came at the outset of a series of meetings in California between Governor Murphy and the film, TV, and technology industries.

The record spending followed a busy year that saw a surge in production after Thanksgiving. In addition, motion picture, television and streaming productions in the state created over 8,500 jobs in 2022. That number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as several major studios finish construction.

“Following my reinstatement of the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program and game-changing investments in our rapidly expanding film and television industries, production has exploded in the past four years as more people learn what New Jersey has to offer,” said Governor Murphy. “This huge growth has fueled thousands of jobs for New Jersey residents while providing economic benefit to our towns and cities.”

Total production spending in New Jersey has surged since 2018, when Governor Murphy reinstated the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program. The program, which was expanded in 2021, has made New Jersey a major filming hub on the east coast.


Murphy Administration Announces Availability of $350 Million for School Construction Projects throughout New Jersey

The Murphy Administration announced the upcoming availability of $350 million for high-priority capital projects in school districts throughout the state. Starting January 30, over 550 Regular Operating Districts (ROD) will be eligible to apply for a grant, made possible  through legislation signed in 2022, to address critical operational building needs – including school facilities projects, emergent needs, and capital maintenance requirements.

“From day one, my Administration has made it a priority to support and improve our public school system – and helping our schools implement critical facility projects is an important component of those efforts,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This funding demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our schools and cementing our legacy as a state that is dedicated to providing every student with a high-quality learning environment.”     


ICYMI: U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.1 Million for Boardwalk Upgrades to Support Tourism in Wildwood, New Jersey

This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.1 million grant to the city of North Wildwood, New Jersey, for reconstruction of three blocks of boardwalk space.

This project will support boardwalk structural repairs, including timber replacement, electrical upgrades and lighting fixtures, as well as ADA compliant ramps, stairs and beach access, in a region with a significant tourist economy. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.9 million in local funds and is expected to create 520 jobs and generate $11.8 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden knows how important the travel and tourism industry is for the American economy, especially in New Jersey,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will support the growth of the tourism sector in Wildwood, creating jobs and bringing more visitors to the region.”

“The travel and tourism industry is a critical economic driver for many local economies across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will support local tourism, which represents a significant portion of the regional economy.”

“We thank the U.S. Department of Commerce and our congressional delegation for their continued commitment to New Jersey’s economic vitality,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This investment in the future of North Wildwood will generate millions in private investment and hundreds of jobs in a community that has long epitomized the very best of our state’s iconic tourist destinations. In tandem with the statewide Boardwalk Fund I proposed earlier this month, this pivotal federal support will further accelerate growth in our burgeoning shore economies.”


Murphy Administration Expands Capacity of New Jersey's Behavioral Healthcare Workforce Through Student Loan Repayment Incentive

The Murphy Administration announced that the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) is now accepting applications for the Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program. The purpose of the program is to help recruit and maintain a qualified workforce of behavioral healthcare professionals in order to further Governor Phil Murphy's ongoing goal of expanding access to mental health care on behalf of New Jersey residents.

Through funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget last June and a law signed by Governor Murphy last year, this career-specific loan redemption program was created to help address the critical shortage of behavioral health providers in the Garden State. Under the program, behavioral healthcare professionals can apply to have HESAA pay off up to $150,000 of their student loan balance in exchange for agreeing to work at an approved community behavioral and mental health provider located in New Jersey.

For every two years of service in New Jersey, behavioral healthcare providers can apply for up to $50,000 in loan redemption, for a maximum of six years.

"This program is part of a whole-of-government approach my Administration is taking to improve the delivery of behavioral healthcare services to all New Jerseyans," said Governor Murphy. "Offering student loan redemption as an incentive for certified professionals to serve our communities is one way to begin closing the gap between the number of providers and the number of New Jerseyans in need. Expanding mental health services for our residents, especially our youth, will be critical in continuing to help our residents recover from the challenges they have faced over the past several years,"

According to the Executive Director of HESAA, David J. Socolow, student loan debt can be a significant barrier to qualified individuals pursuing careers in the behavioral health field. "Paying off a part of healthcare providers' student loan balances can help alleviate the financial pressures of professionals in these high-demand career paths. Managing student loan debt is one of many services HESAA provides, and we are excited to add this new support for highly skilled New Jerseyans who are dedicated to providing behavioral health services to the people of our state," said Socolow.