Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths (all R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said the announcement by the Vernon Township School District that massive property tax hikes were on the horizon is proof that Governor Murphy and the Democrat-controlled legislature’s enactment of S-2 is hurting both students and property taxpayers in Sussex and Warren counties.
"Parker, Hal, and I warned that Trenton Democrats are redirecting our school aid to other parts of the state, and here we see the effects of their taking $2 million from our children's classrooms," said Oroho. "These cuts will get even worse for Sussex and Warren counties in future years.”
Oroho, Space, and Wirths voted against changes to the school funding formula (S-2) and the Trenton Democrats’ State budget which resulted in the cuts. The $2 million of aid reductions to the impacted districts this year will increase to a $40 million loss annually under Murphy and the Democrats’ changes to the school funding formula.
In 2017, the District 24 legislators worked with local school districts and then-Governor Christie leading to the Department of Education reinstating close to an extra $1 million in school aid which was taken away by the Democrats Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Vernon was one of the 10 school districts located in Sussex and Warren Counties who received restored aid.
“We have always said that any school funding reform effort must treat all school districts fairly and permanently correct the underlying unfairness of the Corzine Democrat school-funding law,” Space said. “The Vernon Township School District’s announcement shows first-hand how enactment of S-2 was a politically motivated attack on our taxpayers, students, and schools in rural areas.”
The legislators noted that the link between unfair school funding leading to highest property taxes in the country could not be clearer. And they pointed out that even after the Democrats rigged the formula once again and the pain it is causing, they have not taken up any serious measures to save money; in fact, they have been adding to the property tax problem by continuing to pass mandates on school districts such as the minimum wage hike, the Rain Tax, and others.
“It is outrageous that Trenton Democrats continued inaction on a thorough reform of the school funding law that looks at the concerns of each region of the state,” Wirths said. “Trenton Democrats have devalued our land through the Highlands Act while dolling out our tax dollars our residents pay from the income tax and the sales tax to other parts of the state. So with the restraint on economic growth, we are getting a double whammy of limiting our ratable base while slashing our school aid.”