Matt Rooney is right. The Democrats’ “unwillingness to end the redistribution of funds from the suburbs to failing urban schools remains the single biggest driver of our state’s nightmarish, neighborhood-killing property taxes.”
The Democrats could – and should – be challenged on their cruel insistence that economically distressed families in suburban and rural New Jersey be made to subsidize rich corporations and wealthy professionals in places like Jersey City and Hoboken. The tax breaks with which urban Democrat bosses favor contributors to political campaigns are paid for with subsidies from struggling communities throughout New Jersey.
There is more than enough corporate and professional money in urban New Jersey to cover the education of the children who live there. If those interested parties were made responsible for the children of their communities the educational systems there would be subject to a greater degree of local oversight and on-the-spot scrutiny by those stakeholders. Absent that, under the current system of subsidy from afar, those subsidized stakeholders are more than content to allow political corruption to flourish, just so long as they keep getting their discount.
It is shameful for One Percenters like Phil Murphy, Steve Fulop, Lacey Rzeszowski, and Saily Avelenda to don their pussy hats and try to argue that their tax breaks are about “helping poor children”. Not when their “philanthropy” is paid for by over-taxed, working class families trying to stay out of foreclosure. There is nothing LIBERAL about screwing over working class families to pay for propping-up corrupt urban political machines.
As far back as the administration of Governor Jim McGreevey, the Democrats knew that half of the state’s economically disadvantaged children lived outside the over-funded urban Abbott school districts. More than a decade has passed since the state Supreme Court issued its report on this – and NOTHING has been done to overturn the fundamental unfairness of the state’s system of funding education.
Since the economic crash of 2008, suburban and rural poverty has grown in New Jersey and throughout the United States. That’s what the liberal to centrist Brookings Institute has argued in their published studies. Brookings’ experts also note that, since the 1960’s, most of the nation’s anti-poverty programs have been aimed at the cities.
Rural and suburban New Jersey lack even the basic infrastructure to help get people back on their feet – on top of which local municipalities are robbed of the property taxes that could help with this. Everything is taken from them – in the name of the urban poor – but for the use of the One Percent and the corporations they control.
Corrupt urban political machines, corrupt vendors, rich corporations, and wealthy professionals all make out under the Abbott regime. The genuinely poor remain trapped in schools that, for all the money spent per pupil, fail to educate their students or prepare them for the working world. The kids are used as pawns, as an excuse, for the corruption and those getting rich from it.
More than a decade ago a prescient writer by the name of Paul Mulshine argued that the life of every child mattered and that the state needed to provide a uniform baseline of funding. Instead, the Democrats have ensured that the money continues to miss those poor children living outside the Abbotts, while failing to help those living within the Abbotts.
The question is, will those currently charged with leading New Jersey Republicans into their next battle recognize these stark facts starring them in the face? Will they make use of them? If not for their own political ambitions and those of their party – Republican leaders should be urged to do so on behalf of over-taxed working people, their children, and for the child pawns being used but not served.
New Jersey Republicans face extinction. Their fighting prowess is minimal. It has reached the point where any plausible Democrat candidate with a modicum of funding can expect to simply march in and take most of their remaining legislative seats. Not in Northwest New Jersey mind you, where every Democrat on the ballot was just ruthlessly slaughtered and where the Democrat who challenged Senator Steve Oroho in 2017 lost her school board seat. This is where the pussy hats run into a phalanx of flannel shirts (and those are the women!).
In his column (https://savejersey.com/2018/11/n-j-republicans-are-letting-sweeney-appropriate-their-strongest-argument-rooney/), Matt Rooney raises the question of whether Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick is up to the task of fighting the Democrats next year. Whether he is a “wartime consiglieri” or not. We hope that he is, but at the present, he appears to be more concerned about how he is perceived within the “bubbles” of Trenton and Westfield (whose median income is double that of Sussex County).
Assembly Leader Bramnick would do well to break out of this bubble. “Bubble land” doesn’t understand America. It is too rich, too privileged, too unconcerned with the basics of shelter and debt to worry about those who are. Bubble land never understood the rise of Donald Trump. Never got the levels of pain and disappointment that the eight gray years of Barack Obama brought to those working class people who voted for him in 2008. They put it down to “racism” when it was really about the threat of foreclosure – of losing… everything.
We urge Jon Bramnick and the other leaders of the NJGOP to embark on an experiment in listening and learning. Not the usual photo-op in Newark… go to where the new poverty is. Visit a food pantry in what everyone thinks is a middle class town. Watch the people who once had a good job, with benefits and a pension, but who now work three without. Notice the high priced automobiles, now over a decade old. Drive around and take note of the “for sale” signs. Visit an encampment of working people who have lost their homes.
This isn’t a time for rallying around a corrupt Establishment that – uses poor people as an excuse to rape working people to make rich people richer. No matter how you personally feel about the Democrats responsible, these are bad policies and they must be challenged. The choice must be one of clear-blue-water between the parties. Again, if not for your own political ambitions and those of your party, do it for the over-taxed working people, for their children, and for the child pawns being used but not served.
Matt Rooney makes the point very clearly: “Taxpayers want an advocate… not a mediator.” Amen.