Democrat’s Priorities Inconsistent With Rhetoric
The Newark $36 million baseball park, plagued by poor attendance and few sponsors, costs Essex County taxpayers a million and a half dollars a year in debt service. Now Newark plans to spend $210 million dollars, about 30 percent of the city’s annual budget, on a new arena.
Anyone still under the delusion that government investment in sporting complexes is a net plus for taxpayers should read Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit.
Anyone still under the delusion that Democrats place a priority on education and “the children” should think about this challenge from Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio.
Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio (R- Passaic/Morris). today called on Democrats in Newark to justify the recently approved $310 million dollar ice hockey arena in Newark. On the same day of the arena announcement the Department of Education released its annual public school report card – and Newark did not make the honor roll.
“The numbers that Newark schools produced were abysmal,” stated Pennacchio “In eighteen elementary schools and eight high schools less than half of the students passed their reading and math proficiency tests. Where I come from 50% does not make the grade.”
“Newark plans on investing $210 million dollars of public money in an arena while their children cannot read nor do basic mathematic equations,” Pennacchio explained. “Where are their priorities?”
The Assemblyman went on to explain that, due to the Supreme Court decision in Abbott vs. Burke, between 1991 and 2004 New Jersey gave over $5.5 billion to school districts in Newark. They received over $459 million last year alone.
The funds were meant help improve the quality of education in Newark schools and level the playing field with other schools across the state. After nearly fifteen years of state aid Newark schools are still failing - the money was poured in, but performance has not improved. Now as the schools in Newark continue to flounder the City has decided to spend on a sports arena.
“It would appear that the Democrats are more interested in a risky money-making scheme than a fair education playing field,” Pennacchio concluded. “If Newark wants to invest in something maybe it should invest in the future of their children and not in an ice rink for a sport that right now looks like it might not play another game.”