"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 11, 2007

The War On New Jersey’s Taxpayers

Tom Moran lobs a bomb:

Republicans tend to get defensive when they are accused of favoring the rich over the poor. That's class warfare, we are told. And it's just not American.

Which makes it difficult to be polite while discussing the latest Republican moves on the state budget. Because the GOP plan is crowded with efforts to take money from poor cities and shift it to wealthier suburbs.

Look at the facts.
Yes, let us look at the facts, beginning with Moran's premise that Republicans want to “take money from poor cities and shift it to wealthier suburbs.”

There is no Republican plan to tax poor people and transfer the proceeds to the wealthy. There is no plan to take money from “poor cities” and shift it to wealthier suburbs. Money is taken from taxpayers and shifted to tax receivers. Under the Republican plan, “poor cites” would still receive more funding than last year, just not as much as Democrats would like.

Here’s the list of budget cuts proposed by Republicans. These cuts take into accout programs that have not produced results and the billions of taxpayer dollars “poor cites” have wasted through financial mismanagement and outright fraud.

The Republican plan is to implement spending controls and invest, as Democrats like to say, a tiny fraction of the budget in the state’s neglected suburbs to help limit the growth in property taxes.

And this may come as a shock to Moran, but not everyone who lives in the suburbs is a Wall Street tycoon, just as everyone one who lives in a city is not a pauper. Hoboken, a “poor city”, where Jon Corzine, Carla Katz and Bob Menendez hang their hat from time to time immediately comes to mind.

Times have changed - 13 Abbott school cities no longer meet the criteria established for the Abbott designation, but continue to receive huge state subsidies.

The class warrior, Moran, continues:
It would drastically cut state aid to urban schools, forcing major layoffs in the state's poorest districts.

Most of that money would be redirected to growing suburban schools on a per-student basis, with no regard to the district's level of wealth.
Republicans are proposing a more equitable allocation of education aid to all school districts. The 31 Abbott towns have been spending without regard to state taxpayers and the children in New Jersey’s other 535 municipalities.

It’s no exaggeration to say Abbott school spending is completely out of control with Asbury Park spending $23,572 per student and the state’s largest school district, Newark, $21,503. Most of that Abbott funding comes from the state’s income taxpayers unlike the funding for New Jersey’s non-Abbott school districts which spend an average of $11,056 per student.

The so-called “poor Abbott school districts” spend far more per pupil than the state’s wealthy school districts and have been doing so since 1997. To quote what Corzine administration officials told the New Jersey Supreme Court:
Abbott districts have been spending at some of the highest levels in the State, and well beyond non-Abbott districts, with no discernable correlation to improved achievement.

Of the 25 highest spending K-12 districts, 17 are Abbott districts. Moreover, the three highest spending K-12 districts in the State are Abbott districts.

The Abbott districts have not been required to exercise the fiscal discipline that the State and other school districts must undergo; instead they have been allowed to balance their budget through virtually unlimited supplemental funding requests.
As for forcing major layoffs in the state's “poorest school districts”, it’s good to see Moran understands where the bulk of all that extra funding has been spent – on superfluous jobs that have contributed nothing to student achievement.

Moran soldiers on:
It would kill a big tax cut proposed by Gov. Jon Corzine for the working poor.

So why is this the only tax cut in the world that Republicans in Trenton now oppose? Could it be because it is aimed exclusively at working families earning less than $38,000 a year, who tend to favor Democrats?
Republicans oppose the measure because it isn’t a tax cut. Corzine’s plan would provide a refundable tax credit, meaning that qualifying tax filers would receive a refund check greater than the amount of state income tax they paid. It would reduce the “property tax relief fund” by $64 million.

It’s one thing to eliminate state income taxes for those earning less than $38,000 and quite another to provide people with a subsidy from the state’s school aid fund. It’s not a tax cut, it’s a grant.

Moran fights any defense of taxpayers:

The political calculus behind this is pretty simple. Republicans are giving up on winning elections in the cities -- which makes tactical sense, since they don't have much of a prayer in that fight anyway.

They are going for the swing districts in the suburbs. Places like Monmouth County, where Democratic Sen. Ellen Karcher faces a tough re-election fight, and Gloucester County, where Democratic Sen. Steve Sweeney is a target.
How about we just say Republicans are going after the vote of taxpayers regardless of where they live. It’s about time.

Moran goes for the kill:

So which side, in the end, is really waging class warfare?
Democrats and their tax receiving backers comprising all economic classes, that’s who. It is Democrats who have made war on the taxpaying class - raiding their incomes, savings and property. The people who pay the bills in this state are sick and tied of being portrayed as the bad guys while being treated like an ATM account with an unlimited balance.

Putting the brakes on wasteful state spending isn’t class warfare it’s called good government. Pretending the poor in New Jersey are somehow being shortchanged by taxpayers is demagoguery.

Labels: , , ,


At 6:56 PM, Blogger Motocrossed said...

Say it loud, say it proud, I am a middle class taxpayer and I want my taxes evenly distributed throughout.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous njcons said...

From David Frum today:

"Is it quite accurate to describe the DC schools as "dysfunctional"? Doesn't that depend on what you take their true "function" actually to be? If you imagine that function to be educating the young, well yes obviously they are not very successful at that. But what if they have a very different function? What if their real function were to create employment and transfer wealth? At that, after all, they are extremely successful.

And this may explain why "reform" attempts so often fail. Reforms intended to improve the quality of education threaten to damage the schools' ability to carry out their most fundamental mission: emplyment and enrichment."


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