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Gov. Christie’s Drastic Line Item Vetoes Put the Squeeze on Educators, Students and Taxpayers

(22ND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) — Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (both D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) released a comparative analysis prepared by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) Friday that shows the significant financial impact Gov. Christie’s cruel and vindictive line item vetoes will have on residents of the 22nd District.

“Gov. Christie’s budget cuts across the board — but especially to school aid — will devastate the middle class and the working poor in the communities we represent,” said Green. “While we all understand that spending less in times of austerity is the right thing to do, cutting tens of millions of dollars in aid to our schools that will ultimately put the squeeze on students and middle class taxpayers alike will only serve to make things worse.”

According to the OLS comparison, thirteen of the 14 school systems in the 22nd Legislative District are losing funding under Gov. Christie’s education budget cuts, reducing local school aid for the district by 19.6 percent, or $53.72 million. North Plainfield, Linden and Rahway were the hardest hit, each losing over $10 million in school aid.

“The governor’s budget cut to education does two things: ensures that our students and educators will be harder pressed to keep up with their contemporaries in neighboring states; and drives a deeper divide between the haves and the have-nots in the 22nd District and across the state,” said Stender.

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget passed by the Legislature on June 29, which both Green and Stender supported, included school aid funding for poor and middle class districts that was to have come from imposing a tax on the 16,000 residents making over $1 million a year. The millionaire’s tax levy would only have been assessed on money earned over $1 million and was projected to raise $613 million, which would have been used to help offset property taxes and increase educational services.

“With his unilateral veto of the millionaire’s tax and over $600 million held in reserve in the budget as surplus, the governor’s professed necessity for these school cuts doesn’t just ring hollow, it rings cruel,” said Stender.

“The majority of these cuts will be absorbed by working class families who are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Green. “Meanwhile, millionaires get another tax break under Gov. Christie. And the worst part about it all is it seems the governor made these cuts just so that he could look good on the national conservative circuit.”

A list of 22nd District school systems and how much they will lose under the governor’s line item vetoes is available here.