Statement by Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO and Executive Director, New Jersey Society of CPAs
With such challenging times upon us, the ability to make informed decisions regarding our finances is more important than ever. That’s why the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) supports Senate Bill 1196 (A3062), which calls for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to establish a three-year Financial Empowerment Pilot Program that will open adult financial literacy centers in the state’s most economically disadvantaged areas, such as Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson and Trenton.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Nelli Pou (D-35), Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-5), Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29), Assemblyman William F. Moen, Jr. (D-5) and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15), would not only benefit those residents but their communities and the state as a whole. We welcome its passage and look forward to any opportunities to assist with the creation of centers to host forums, programs, financial coaching and other services.
The NJCPA has long recognized the need to be a resource for certified public accountants as well as the general public regarding finances, taxes, student debt loan and other issues impacting residents of New Jersey. We know first-hand about helping students, adults and retirees in the areas of budgeting, planning and taxation. We believe many adults — especially those who live in underprivileged communities — could benefit from the program’s focus on bank accounts, credit scores, decreasing non-mortgage debt and increasing savings.
For years, we have been a strong supporter of financial literacy. From establishing a consumer resource center on our website and producing property tax and disaster recovery guides to hosting tax call-ins with CPAs, we understand the value of keeping New Jerseyans more financially informed. Better educated communities make for a better educated New Jersey.