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OLS Analysis Estimates Almost $850 Million Gap Even if Every School District Froze Wages

(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden) issued a multimedia package Tuesday in which he discusses an analysis prepared by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) that concludes that if every school district entered into agreements for wage freezes, New Jersey schools would still be facing property tax increases under Gov. Chris Christie’s budget plan.

The multimedia package consists of a video on Greenwald’s discussion of the OLS analysis, audio of the same, a transcript of the legislator’s remarks and a press release detailing the discussion in more detail.
The video can be accessed directly via our Web site — www.assemblydems.com — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.

A press release on the budget public hearing can be found at either www.assemblydems.com or by visiting the Assembly Democrats on Facebook.

A transcript of Greenwald’s comments is appended below:

“The OLS white paper today, I think, confirms what the Legislature has been trying to bring out in the public hearings, as well as the departmental hearings, which is this concept that if teachers and government officials would just take freezes that it would offset any property tax increases.

“The reality is that, according to OLS and their fiscal analysis, taking freezes for municipalities, school districts, would still leave a hole of roughly $900 million.

“So people are now being asked to pay more for less and that’s somehow supposed to be okay because somebody’s finally getting tough. This administration has not been able to cut their own budget. Their budget’s up. We’re just pushing the burden to someone else and trying to scare the public into saying, ‘Well, they can solve all your problems. They just need to cut further.’

“School districts are cutting. But now it’s getting to a point where class sizes are going up, safety issues are starting to be raised, children with special education are being asked to cut back. These are not the types of cuts that people are talking about. Eliminating athletics for freshmen; junior varsity athletics in certain school districts. Schools closing. A school is closing in a community like Winslow. That’s not what people were asking for.

“These districts have already seen loss of services. They’ve already seen tremendous layoffs in departments. So they’ve gone to that well. The only well left to go to would be property tax increases. And this will most assuredly result in those property tax increases.”

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