Have the Governor bring back the NJ EMT training fund.

We just learned this afternoon that the Governor has decided to remove $4 Million from the EMT Training Fund. This was not a part of his original budget proposal. With the commitment of funds to programs already approved for this year, that will leave the Fund only $400,000 as of the start of the new fiscal year on 7/1/09. As we have been telling you, the Fund has been in a deficit position for the last 5 or 6 years Based on projected income, the Fund will not have enough money to cover the cost for the programs that need to be run during the next fiscal year. This will mean that the squads themselves may have to find the funds to pay at least part of the cost of the training for both EMT Basic courses as well as CEU programs. We know that contributions to squads have been down so this situation will put a strain on many of our squads. They may be forced to decide between things like getting new equipment and supplies and training members.

We recommend that every member, squad and district e-mail, fax or call their own state legislators tomorrow and tell them that this is an outrage and is likely to have a significant negative impact on volunteer squads and their efforts to recruit and retain new members (Your district VPs have the contact information for each squad’s state legislators) Tell them you want them to publicly oppose this removal of funds and do everything they can to see that the money is left in the Fund.

PLEASE BE POLITE TO YOUR LEGISLATORS. They are the people who we have to depend on to work with us and it’s likely that few if any knew about this action before it was announced. We’ve been told that the decision was made by the Governor’s budget committee.

We are working on bullet points which will be provided to each district VP, Chair and state officer for the squads, district and individuals to use when preparing letters and e-mails to go to their state legislators. These communications can include the points OR they can be as simple as saying please leave the Training Fund alone the volunteers need that money. These letters / e-mails should be a follow up to the 1st ones you do tomorrow or early next week.

Talk to your family, neighbors, local politicians; anyone who will send a letter / e-mail or make a call. If you have a good contact with your local weekly newspaper, see if they will do an editorial against the transfer. We are looking at a number of ways to get our message out including news releases / letters for the papers and will let you know when they will be available.

We can stop this if we work together and send a single message “Don’t Take Money From the EMT Training Fund; It Will Do Serious Damage To Volunteer EMS In New Jersey”.