Chiaravalloti asks state comptroller to investigate NJ Reach
(Bayonne)- Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31) has requested that the New Jersey State Comptroller investigate all funds that had been appropriated for the NJ Reach project. The NJ Reach project was created under former Governor Chris Christie to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. Funds were re-appropriated from underfunded programs and directed to a fund
that was solely dedicated to the creation of advertisements for NJ Reach.
Chiaravalloti voiced his concerns: “The opioid epidemic has devastated New Jersey, nearly 2,000 individuals died from overdoses in 2016 alone. The legislature authorized the governor to create NJ Reach in good faith- this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. But the governor took money away from pre-school expansion, school construction and college tuition grants. These are issues that are frequently discussed as being underfunded. It is bothersome that important funds were slashed to benefit the former governor and the consultants that created the advertisements.”
“These advertisements were designed to promote Christie and was not solely created for the victims and families of the opioid epidemic. This is clearly evident by Christie’s prominence in all the ads. These ads were costly, took away from necessary funds and had a limited shelf life. These ads are unusable by any administration. This money could have been spent on treatment
programs to directly assist victims of the epidemic- not wasted on production edits featuring Christie.” Said Chiaravalloti (D-31)
NJ Reach was created in 2017 and received budgeted funds for 2017 and 2018. In the two years, nearly 6 million dollars were redirected from preschool expansion aid and 19 million dollars were redirected from school construction fund. The program also received almost 9 million dollars in 2018 from the Tuition Aid Grant program.
“New Jerseyans have a right to know why these specific funds were chosen to be slashed, what was the process behind hiring consultants and who was involved in the program’s strategy. Why were funds mismanaged on ads that can only be used under one administration?” Stated Chiaravalloti (D-31)