"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Real Property Tax Relief Can’t Be Accomplished Without Fixing Abbott School Funding

A New Jersey state task force appointed by Governor Jon Corzine recommended the state spend $3.25 billion on school construction - $2.5 billion in the 31 Abbott districts and $750 million in the other 585 school districts in the state. This is in addition to the $8.6 billion the state has already spent - $6 billion in the Abbott districts and $2.6 billion elsewhere in the state.

This latest recommendation is just the beginning. Back in February the task force suggested an additional $29.2 billion be spent for Abbott school construction over the next ten years. This is an incredible sum considering the Abbott districts comprise only 22 percent of the state’s public school students.

The state’s Abbott school construction program has been a boondoggle from day one. An analysis by the Star-Ledger showed the state spent an average of 45 percent more to build schools in the Abbott districts than did local boards of education throughout the rest of the state.

An audit report by State Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper concluded New Jersey’s school construction program was a textbook case of “mismanagement, fiscal malfeasance, conflicts of interest and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Those words fairly sum up New Jersey’s 30 year Abbott school experiment. Billion upon billions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into these schools with little to no improvement to show for the investment. The original $6 billion allocated for Abbott school construction was blown through with less than one-half the scheduled projects completed.

New Jersey’s Abbott school districts now spend 30 percent more per student as compared to the state’s average and receive 55 percent of all state property tax relief for schools. State school construction funding is even more lopsided with 70 percent of state resources being spent on the Abbott districts.

If the politicians in Trenton are serious about reducing New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes then they will need to seriously address the over-allocation of tax dollars to the Abbott districts. Every child deserves a quality education, but it shouldn’t be necessary to bankrupt the state and its property taxpayers in order to accomplish the goal.

Bob at eCache has more


At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

I'd say that the words “mismanagement, fiscal malfeasance, conflicts of interest and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars” fairly sum up the state of the state government in general.


At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Trochilus said...

You are correct.

State spending in the Abbotts is out of control, to the detriment of districts and property taxpayers everywhere else.

There is a proposed constitutional amendment in the hopper, by Senators Lance and Littell, that would restore some level of sanity to school spending, SCR37, as proposed in the current session, that would cap state spending in the Abbott Districts to maintain them at the statewide average.

Senator Barbara Buono, a Democrat, is a co-sponsor of that measure, as she knows full well the devastating effect of property taxes ballooning in her largely suburban District.

The state's Supreme Court caused this problem of obscene spending in the Abbott districts when they ordered spending in those districts had to at least equal the spending in the districts -- e.g., Princeton -- that locally decide to spend at much high levels.

So, the net effect is that Princeton, et al. drive everyone else's property taxes up because the lion's share of the state aid must go to the Abbott districts to bring them up to the Princeton level.

SCR37 alone would stablize spending so as to give us all a break in property taxes. But the Democrats will never allow it to happen because they want all the State aid for their urban schools, many of which are failing miserably because of corruption.

Only a constitutional solution will really restore some sense of balance and stability.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

Mischief and mayhem. Why must it be like this? Who put these people in power, oh wait, we did. Crap!

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous North Fork Real Estate said...

If you intend to buy properties abroad, you should do a little research first about the host country's policies about foreigners buying properties in their territory.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Hamptons Real Estate said...

It's an interesting balance battling taxes and funding for the schools.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Chris Pia said...

This is an interesting article. Im not sure how I ended up on a plumbing article, but it was interesting to read.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Chris Pia said...

This is an interesting artice. Im not sure how I came across an real estate article, but interesting to read.


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