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Reply #15: That is why the state budget choices are so important [View All]

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-12-09 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. That is why the state budget choices are so important
Yesterday, my husband and I went to a county Democratic meeting where Governor Corzine spoke to us and took questions. He just released the state budget numbers for education aid to the towns and cities. There are NO cuts from last year even though the total budget is down about $5 billion (It is now around $30 billion ) They also increased some taxes or took away some tax deductions that account for another $1 billion. (The degree the budget was cut was actually news to me as the local paper mentioned the tax hike and the amount only.)

As this is one of the wealthier counties, the first question that Corzine got was from a woman politely stating that the loss of a deduction for property taxes this year for couples making over $150,000 would hurt her and many of her neighbors. His response was that he didn't like making these choices but that doing so was the only way to preserve the property tax rebate for couples making under $70,000 and to keep education aid at least as high as last year and to continue to provide health insurance for every child who didn't have it and giving the same level of aid to municipalities. He than said that he thought this was a budget that every Democrat could stand behind because it showed our value of doing what is right for kids and the community.

Before the Governor came - he was nearly an hour late, we were talking with some local Democrats, including 2 who are very active with school issues. They had only gotten the new numbers that morning and were extremely pleased. They had anticipated a 5% cut but (due to higher enrollment) got a 5% increase. This meant the school board was able to reconsider the cuts they planned in the budget. (The cuts, many of which are still needed, were nowhere as horrific as those that could produce the conditions you speak of - but they were cuts that were hard to make, cutting kindergarten aides, elementary world language teachers, some enrichment programs and elementary teachers - increasing class sizes to the upper 22 to 23 in K-2, and 25 to 26 in 3-5 - numbers that still look good to me as a baby boomer. They are also charging $100 to people playing sports.)

It is clear that the Governor intends to run a campaign that will be based on "our values" versus theirs. He said several times that this November's election will not be about him but about Democratic vs Republican values.
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