"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Jersey’s Schools Construction Corp – Invest, Grow, Prosper

As Jon Corzine touts his plans to “co-invest” taxpayer dollars in risky start-up businesses, consider New Jersey’s Schools Construction Corp. This state corporation is the poster child for incompetence, waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

The State has proven incapable of efficiently and effectively managing the basic functions of government, why should anyone entrust the State with more tax dollars to start state “co-owned” businesses?

We’d like to invest in and grow our own businesses. We don’t need the government as a mafia style partner. We want the people to prosper, not the politicians and their buddies. The state currently runs a number of businesses and not a one breaks even. For examples see The River Line and Giants Stadium.

Any potentially viable venture, with a good business plan, can receive financing in the private sector. Why should taxpayers be forced to invest in businesses the capital markets turn down? The government is the lender of last resort for a reason – high risk, low probability for gain.

Now think about the Corzine planned businesses run like this:

John F. Spencer, CEO of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corp., testified before a state Assembly Budget Committee that his troubled agency began without the proper expertise to manage the $8.6 billion program and with unrealistic construction cost estimates. Only half of the school construction work set for the state's poorest districts [Abbott] will be completed with the $6 billion set aside for them.

The school construction program has been plagued by excessive spending. One analysis showed that the corporation spent an average of 45 percent more to build schools than local boards of education. Architects also were paid double the average rate, and project managers received up to four times the rate other districts were paying for schools built in the past two years.

State Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper issued a stinging report in April criticizing the corporation for hiring temporary workers at premium pay rates to supplement its 270-person staff, for paying local governments for school building sites that were already publicly owned and for not seeking reimbursement from architects for construction costs overruns resulting from their design errors. The report also said the agency paid thousands of dollars in inappropriate bonuses to top executives during 2003 and 2004.
New Jersey Taxpayers are just supposed to shrug this off and pony up another $18 to $25 billion because:

"There is a (state) Supreme Court mandate that says we must provide this," William Payne, D-Essex said. "We don't have the luxury of either doing it or not doing it."
Is that so Mr. Payne? Well, we have the luxury of the vote. The politicians along with the cronies they placed on the state’s payroll should be swept out of Trenton. The people also have the power to amend the state’s constitution to return the power of the purse to elected representatives who are accountable to the taxpayers.

The New Jersey Schools Corp has all the elements of Senator Corzine’s plan: Invest (billions of tax dollars wasted), grow (the debt grows ever larger) and prosper (the politically connected get richer). Would any other state business be different? Would Senator Corzine like to make a bet?



1 Comments:

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous njcons said...

New Jersey Taxpayers are just supposed to shrug this off and pony up another $18 to $25 billion because:

Great minds must think alike. :)

 

Post a Comment

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