Beck & O’Scanlon Join Seven Underfunded School Districts in Call for Fair Funding at Assembly Budget Committee Hearing
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) joined superintendents, school board members, and parents from seven underfunded school districts at the Assembly Budget Committee’s Department of Education hearing to support an increase in funding for their schools.
“This issue is larger than just Red Bank and Freehold Borough,” Beck said. “We have 143 school districts that are more than ten percent below the state adequacy standard and most have seen enrollment growth, while 215 school districts are more than ten percent above the standard the majority of which have seen enrollment loss.”
“The number of superintendents, school board members, and parents here today underscores the unfairness our current school funding formula,” Beck added. “When you have school districts that have lost enrollment continuing to receive more state aid than our districts with triple-digit enrollment growth, that is a problem that the DOE and Legislature must work to resolve.”
While April 18 is Tax Day, the day state and federal income taxes must be filed, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean warned New Jersey residents that they aren’t off the hook just yet.
“With a state and local tax burden that is among the worst in the nation, New Jersey’s residents have to dedicate every dollar they earn from New Years Day to May 12 to pay their tax bills for the year,” said Kean. “This crushing tax burden is what’s driving residents, businesses and jobs from New Jersey to lower-tax states.”
With legislators discussing reforms to New Jersey’s estate tax, Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) suggested a compromise that would bring New Jersey’s estate tax exemption in line with other states.
“New Jersey’s current exemption of $675,000 is the lowest of any state with an estate tax,” said Beck. “We can make New Jersey more competitive by increasing our exemption to $2.5 million, about the average of other state’s exemptions.”
Senator Anthony Bucco said the positive jobs numbers – announced today by Gov. Chris Christie at an event at Union County College – are the direct result of the Republican effort to limit spending and prevent tax increases.
“Over the last several years, we have worked with the administration to put New Jersey in a much better position in our shifting economy,” Senator Bucco (R–Morris) said. “By keeping firm on taxes and holding the line on spending, we have been able to lure in new job creators and give our state a chance to rebound from the crippling unemployment of the Great Recession.”
Over 60 Neptune Residents Attend Project Briefing
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) held a meeting on Tuesday night in conjunction with Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop to update Seaview Island residents about the status of the Shark River dredging project.
“This project has literally been 30 years in the making,” said Beck. “I will continue to work closely with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop, and other stakeholders as we move forward with the next phase of the project.”
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that the restoration of the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to full solvency and a resulting $200 million tax cut just announced for employers started with the approval of a constitutional amendment he sponsored to prohibit the fund from being raided to pay for other budgetary items.
“In the years before Public Question No. 1 was approved by voters in 2010, more than $5 billion had been diverted from the state’s UI fund to support other spending,” said Kean. “We warned before 2008 that what seemed to be large UI fund surpluses could quickly turn negative in an economic downtown. Unfortunately, we were proven right.”
Over 50 Parents Seek Fair School Funding for ‘Under-Adequacy’ School Districts
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) was joined by parents from the Freehold Borough and Red Bank school districts at Tuesday’s Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Department of Education’s budget.
Over fifty parents came to raise awareness and advocate for their local public school systems that are each funded at ‘under-adequacy’ levels according to the Department of Education’s own metrics. Freehold Borough is funded 35 percent below the adequacy threshold, while Red Bank is 30 percent below adequacy. Each of these districts have experienced rapid enrollment growth.
$1 Billion UI Fund Surplus Triggers $200 Million Tax Cut for Employers
Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco said that strong anti-fraud measures signed into law in 2013 helped lead to a $1 billion surplus in the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and a $200 million tax cut on employers.
“The $200 million tax cut announced by Governor Christie today is a direct result of our efforts to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud,” said Bucco. “We increased penalties on those who fraudulently claimed benefits and added new safeguards to prevent those claims from being approved.”
The Governor highlighted a number of anti-fraud efforts which saved the UI fund hundreds of millions, helping to turn a $2.1 billion deficit into a positive balance of $1 billion.
Senator Steven Oroho, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, responded to Governor Christie’s announcement that the state’s once indebted Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund now contains a positive balance of $1 billion.
“To go from a $2.1 billion deficit to a $1 billion balance in a few short years is a testament to the efforts of the Legislature and the Christie Administration to impose the fiscal discipline needed to restore New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency,” said Oroho.
Oroho served on a bipartisan Unemployment Insurance Task Force which issued a final report on how to address the state’s UI fund deficit in January of 2012.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement following the nomination of Walter Timpone to the New Jersey Supreme Court:
“Today’s nomination of Walter Timpone represents the first opportunity in six years for the New Jersey Supreme Court to be fully staffed by confirmed justices.
“I hope this is the first step in clearing a large backlog of nominations that has left dozens of courtrooms empty and threatened speedy justice in New Jersey.”