"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, March 20, 2006

When a 49 Percent Increase In School Aid Is Called A Freeze

Why is Governor Corzine giving people the totally false impression that school and municipal state aid is not going to increase under the new state budget? And why do the media repeat the totally false notion that school aid has been frozen for the past four years.

As we have written about a zillion times – 100% of state income tax revenue must be returned to municipalities in the form of property tax relief – or as some prefer it call it, school aid.

For fiscal year 2003, state income tax revenue was $6.735 billion and for fiscal year 2006, income tax revenue will top $10 billion, an increase of $3.27 billion. This can mean one of two things - $3.27 billion was stolen this year or school aid has in fact increased a whopping 49 percent since 2003.

School aid has been frozen to most towns, as the majority of property taxpayers know, but not to the Abbott school districts. The Governor should be honest about this issue and the media should start reporting the facts – school aid has not been frozen in the past and will not be frozen in this new budget.

As it stands now, New Jersey’s income tax revenue is up 10.9% over last year. Therefore, Governor Corzine will submit a budget reflecting a minimum of a 10 percent increase in school aid. School aid has not and will not be frozen, it’s just the majority of taxpayers have been frozen out.



1 Comments:

At 4:02 PM, Blogger PN said...

Although individual income tax revenues are supposed to fund property tax relief, there is no mechanism in place to prevent massive redistribution of funds from some communities to others. The politicians have taken full advantage of this situation. The Abbott districts are only the most obvious example.

In FY 2006, Abbott districts will receive $2 billion in state aid for operating expenses ("parity aid", "supplemental aid", and preschools). This is roughly 29% of all school aid.

I also suspect a similar diversion to some non-Abbott districts, although NJ school aid numbers are hard to analyze and I can't estimate the amounts involved.

If Corzine was more open about the magnitude of redirected income tax revenues, it would weaken his case for consolidation and/or regionalization of municipalities and school districts.

 

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