NJ can't afford to maintain Founders' graves by The Associated Press Wednesday July 04, 2007 When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to honor the grave sites of Declaration of Independence signers, don't count New Jersey in. It can't afford it. Five Declaration signers are buried in the Garden State _ four New Jerseyans and a Pennsylvanian. But an effort to preserve their graves, promote their lives and honor them with graveside plaques has stalled in a state that was home to several key Revolutionary War battles and dubs itself the "Crossroads of the American Revolution." A plan to spend $200,000 to preserve and newly mark the graves has bounced around the Legislature for more than three years without becoming law, a victim to chronic state budget woes that has left the state annually scrambling to close budget deficits. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a bill sponsor, said he continues to lobby heavily for the proposal, but noted how the latest state budget sliced funding for charities that help homeless people and inner-city poor, among others. "It's hard to justify spending money on historic grave sites when there's a real human need out there," said Gusciora, D-Mercer. The proposal would establish a state program to preserve the graves and promote Abraham Clark, John Hart, Richard Stockton, and John Witherspoon, who signed for New Jersey, and George Clymer, who signed for Pennsylvania but is buried in Trenton. Stockton and Witherspoon _ an ancestor to Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon _ are buried in Princeton, while Hart is in Hopewell Borough and Clark in Rahway. Francis Hopkinson, who also signed the Declaration for New Jersey, is buried in Philadelphia.