Schools Are Suing for More Tax Dollars

It’s budget time in New Jersey folks and look at all the hands that are reaching out for cash. Of course, this year’s budget is being conducted simultaneously as a federal investigation into Christmas tree spending.

Without seeking taxpayer approval, the state appropriated $8.6 billion to build schools. That was to be a 10-year program. The oversight provided, Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), for this massive capital project was too little, too inefficient, and too corrupt to do the job.

Because of that, two years ago the SCC went broke. Or nearly broke. As it said then, it had enough money to complete 59 projects. It left 300 others hanging. Today we find out even that was not correct. Only 27 projects can be completed with that money meaning the other 32 can be added to the already shelved 300 projects.

It wasn’t like they were a couple dollars short.  No, SCC is $600 million in the hole for the 32 projects it can no longer fund.  How confident are you in SCC when its estimates are that far off?

We are sympathetic to school districts who had “guarantees” for more space and security issues by now. These districts passed referenda and cannot complete the projects because of the massive hole known as Schools Construction Corporation.

Sure, Governor Corzine “shook up” the agency, but as today’s news demonstrates, the agency is incapable of managing the job. Recall dear reader, Ken Adams showed that projects SCC handled were far more costly and took considerably longer to complete than district oversight projects.

It is clear that SCC should be scuttled immediately.

Many will suggest that the school districts did not mishandle this pot of money and therefore should not be “punished” by withholding money. These folks will then suggest the state should cough up more money to get the job done.

Hogwash!

Spending of this scale needs more forethought than that. We should never commit tax dollars to a project without having a detailed plan. Nothing in the past suggests there is a plan even today. Nothing Governor “I eschew the laws I was elected to enforce” Corzine has done has instilled any confidence that he knows what is going on. Property tax reform was to include a new funding formula. Have you seen anything yet? No, neither have I.

Not one more penny of state government money should be spent on another school building until the people responsible for the first $8.6 billion are in jail held accountable.

More important, next time someone wants to build a school, he needs to get permission from the people who of this state. That means there needs to a ballot question. I know former US Senator Robert Torricelli thinks circumventing the legislative process is an okay method of getting things done, but I do not. If building public schools is such a good idea, get the people behind the project. Until then, school districts will have to make do with what they already have.

Not one dime more.

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One thought on “Schools Are Suing for More Tax Dollars”

  1. It appears Bob Ingle reads eCache. This sounds like it is directly from what I have written:

    The SCC is the poster child for waste. The Legislature shouldn’t give the SCC a penny more until the wasted money has been recovered and people held responsible.

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