Somewhere In New Jersey
Public employee double-dipping isn’t a major factor in New Jersey’s twin crises, sky-high property taxes and a bankrupt state government, but it is emblematic of the unchecked plundering of taxpayers under the guise of “progressive” public policy which has caused the double disaster.
The Mob That Whacked Jersey chronicles the state’s history of corrupt politicians, aligned with public employee unions, lining their pockets and squandering billions squeezed from taxpayers under the pretext of helping the poor.
Two interlocking forces drove the spending: first, the rise of powerful public-sector unions that pushed effectively for higher pay and benefits, bloating municipal and school budgets and blocking needed reforms not just in cities but across the state; second, the growth in Jersey cities of a new kind of political machine that diverted federal and state urban aid into political favors and patronage, wasting billions on useless and often crooked programs, and turning the cities into expensive wards of the state.Financial mismanagement and corruption scandals are so ubiquitous in New Jersey it’s almost impossible to even remember just the recent cases – Camden schools, Zulima Farber, UMDNJ, Sharpe James, state Treasury Department, Wayne Bryant, Turnpike Authority, Charles Epps, Board of Public Utilities, John Lynch It’s a full-time job keeping New Jersey’s rogues gallery up to date.
Fresh from “solving” the state’s budget crisis by increasing spending and taxes, Democrats in Trenton have now taken up “property tax reform”. Their idea of “reform” is to protect public employees, maintain the disproportionate allocation of state aid to the cities and to search for new ways to grab additional taxpayer money.
The Democrats’ latest power and money grab tactic is school district consolidation in the suburbs. State Senator, Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) summed up the strategy with a bank robbing analogy saying, "I call it the Willie Sutton theory: That is where the money is". We also know how the plan works in practice.
Seaside Park residents are looking for a way out of the Central Regional School District in Ocean County because of the state imposed “fair funding formula”. Seaside Park property taxpayers shell out nearly $51,000 per student per year while the other four towns in the district pay $5,500 to $11,700 per pupil.
A similar situation has prompted talk of secession in the neighboring Southern Regional School District, where property-rich communities on Long Beach Island pay the lion's share of the costs of a high school dominated by students from inland Stafford Township.Former Rutgers professor Ernie Reock, considered by many the leading expert on local government in New Jersey, further exposes the scam:
He looked at the data on school spending, which absorbs the bulk of property tax revenue.The “some reason” is the same one that made New Jersey a taxpayer’s nightmare – the politician’s ability to seize and spend other people’s money to enrich themselves and their supporters.
What he found is that most of the money goes to teacher salaries and benefits, which would not be affected by mergers.
When he examined towns that had agreed to share a high school -- just the sort of move that was supposed to save money -- he found their per-pupil spending actually increased for some reason.
Somewhere in New Jersey lives an individual who holds 11 public jobs...