Candidate for NJ Governor Vows to Lower Parade Expenses

Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey Philip D. Murphy – who attended the flag ceremony at the Peruvian Parade in Paterson on July 23 – said that he will propose a bill to exempt parades from paying the high sums required to cover safety and cleaning costs, which increase every year.

“We must defend the multicultural presence of the communities who contribute to the richness of the United States’ melting pot, which makes us different and leaders of the free world,” said Murphy. “From the governor’s seat, I will introduce a bill to eliminate payments for parades.”

Paterson’s Peruvian and Dominican parades are currently required to pay close to $30,000 for police security and trash removal expenses. Next year, they will have to pay $10,000 more for the same purposes.

Marcia Julián, a municipal employee, said that the state of New Jersey imposed the increase as a requirement to the city of Paterson in exchange for receiving compensation or state funding.

For his part, Mario López, president of Peruvian Parade Inc., said that, this year, the fees required by the city have been covered thanks to the money they have saved and donations from previous years, but, if this continues, he said, next year’s parade may be in jeopardy.

“The cities of Passaic and Clifton are kinder to us, but the municipality of Paterson is suffocating our parades because the state is suggesting to them that they charge us or subsidize us,” said López.

“However, thousands of people come here to visit the city to see our parades, which, in purchases alone, contributes thousands of dollars to the state treasury,” he added.

The president of the Dominican State Parade of New Jersey, Elsa Mantilla, hopes that the offers are not just “politicians’ promises,” as sponsors to these events are dwindling and the parades are being forced to cut down on essentials.

After the Peruvian gala and parade in Paterson – held on July 28 and 31, respectively – similar events hosted by the Dominican community will be held on Sept. 15 and 18.

Mantilla said that, although the Dominican State Parade counts on its sponsors’ trust because of its high attendance and because it is the oldest event of its kind in New Jersey, this and next year’s expenses will hurt the finances of Dominicans living in Paterson.

“They are going up every year, and paying sums of $30,000, $40,000 and $45,000 forces us to make extraordinary efforts throughout the year to put that money together,” said Mantilla. “I hope that we will have a solution in the future, because our traditions are part of the cultural landscape of the city. And, if we want Paterson to become a tourist destination, it doesn’t seem to me that drowning the parades, which bring visitors and revenue to the city, is a step in that direction.”

This story was translated from Spanish to English by Voices of NY.