New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation round-up
Sluggo brings up the matter:
This is a story worth flogging, as it’s emblematic of Trenton’s approach to problems; take the money, spend the money, but for god’s sake don’t get anything for the money.
The front end of this story is one of those arrogant, annoying, blatantly unconstitutional findings by the State Supreme Court directing the spending of tax money to correct a perceived imbalance. Some school districts have more money than others. Agreed. That the Supreme Court can ‘fix’ this problem by appropriating the Assembly’s taxing power and throwing $6 billion dollars at it is not just arrogant. It’s stupid. Putting Paterson’s schools in state hands for fourteen years and raising the per child spending to $13,000 sure fixed that problem, didn’t it?
Now it turns out that it may take an additional $18 billion just to accomplish the original goals.
Six billion dollars spent, and counting: School fund is falling short: Legislators were told that $6 billion would cover only half the construction efforts in needy districts
“It’s just mind-boggling that we could have possibly adopted… this initiative with the kinds of lapses in controls that we are finding,” said Assemblyman William Payne (D., Essex).
He said the state would have to find more money, possibly by issuing bonds, to finish the work.
“Find more money”. Enlighten NJ comments,
New Jersey Taxpayers are just supposed to shrug this off and pony up another $18 to $25 billion because:
“There is a (state) Supreme Court mandate that says we must provide this,” William Payne, D-Essex said. “We don’t have the luxury of either doing it or not doing it.”
NJ Conservative explains,
Let’s take a look at where we stand after 5 years of ongoing construction. According to Jack Spencer, head of the SCC only $1.66 Bbillion remains of the original $6 Billion tax dollars. By time the SCC has spent the remaining $1.66 Billion it will have completed around one third of the required projects. So according to the head of the SCC it will cost the taxpayers at least another $12 to $18 billion to fund this program. The Ledger today reports that Assemblyman Joe Malone, one of the originators of the SCC bill, “…estimated it will cost another $18billion to $25billion to build the scores of new schools still needed to meet the court mandate.” According to Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper in her report on the SCC was full of “waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers dollars.”
Dynamo Buzz suggests,
Now the question is what do we do about it? If the state hesitates, it’s only a matter of time before the friendly attorneys at the NJ Education Law Center go to the NJ Supreme Court and start filing claims. At that point, the NJ Supremes will order the state to spend the extra billions to fund the program. It won’t be pretty, and the billions we are talking about will dwarf the money we’re talking about for property tax relief.
To add to the woes, read about NJ Public School Funding Inequities, and the Trenton Democrats’ attempt in-state tuition status for illegal alien children living in New Jersey, both at Enlighten NJ.
Bad hair as a metaphor? Nah, this is enough to make your hair fall off.
The whole boondoggle is based on the flawed assumption that the problem is money. If you’re a carpenter every problem looks like a nail. If you’re a legislator every problem looks like underfunding.