Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th, has issued a statement critical of Jersey City’s announcement last week that it will "create" millions of dollars to buy open space, saying it is further proof of the need for a better way to fund New Jersey schools that is fair to all taxpayers:

“Mayor Steve Fulop has done it again, poking his finger right in the eye of taxpayers across the state that pay for Jersey City Schools.  He is seemingly tone deaf on the issue of school funding, going as far to exploit even his own constituents who are unaware that New Jersey taxpayers pay for close to 70 percent of Jersey City schools.

“Fulop’s most recent insult came last Friday when he declared that an open space fund would be used to create millions of dollars per year.”

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“Open space preservation is critically important, but how is it that Jersey City requires statewide help to pay for its schools when it has the capacity to “create millions of dollars per year” to buy open space?

“Fulop’s announcement is another powerful example of how terribly flawed and blatantly unfair the school funding formula is.  It’s also an example of how local elected officials can exploit the state subsidy and unfairly low school property taxes to bloat municipal government. 

“That is why I am working on legislation to support school funding reforms that, for example, eliminate adjustment aid and require all communities to make a minimal contribution to their schools.

 “We cannot solve the pension or property tax crises until we solve the school funding crisis.  It all starts with responsible leadership.”