Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earthquake in New Jersey: Majority of School Budgets Defeated

In a crushing rejection of the thug tactics of the teacher's unions, voters turned out in unusually high numbers Tuesday to reject a majority of proposed school budgets across the state of New Jersey, handing Governor Chris Christie a huge victory in his battle to help close the deficit in the state budget. Despite a high-stakes stare down and fear-mongering tactics by the unions, Christie emerges with an even stronger hand.

Take a victory lap, Governor.
New Jersey voters took a stand on school spending and property taxes Tuesday, rejecting 260 of 479 school budgets across 19 counties, according to unofficial results in statewide school elections.

In the proposed state budget he unveiled last month, Gov. Chris Christie slashed $820 million in aid to school districts and urged voters to defeat budgets if teachers in their schools did not agree to one-year wage freezes. The salvo ignited a heated debate with the state’s largest teachers union.

Christie said the cuts were necessary to help plug an $11 billion state budget gap.

In many districts Tuesday, the governor made himself heard as 54 percent of the spending plans were rejected, according to unofficial returns. If the trend continues, it would mark the most budget defeats in New Jersey since 1976, when 56 percent failed. Typically, voters approve more than 70 percent of the school budgets.
Why it's historic! Unprecedented!
Key districts where budgets failed yesterday included Edison, Parsippany, Bridgewater-Raritan and Woodbridge. Budgets passed in Mountain Lakes, Piscataway, Livingston and Jersey City.

In wealthy Somerset County, voters defeated 15 of 17 spending plans; in Hunterdon County, 23 of 28 budgets failed. In the governor’s hometown, Mendham Township, the budget was narrowly approved.

Jeffrey Brookner, president of the Bridgewater-Raritan school board, said "lots of factors played into the defeat. One of those factors is the role that the governor played."

Voter turnout was also high in elections that typically draw little interest. In Sparta, where turnout rivaled some presidential elections, the budget was defeated by roughly a 3-to-1 margin. Sparta teachers agreed to a one-year wage freeze late last week, but the budget still called for a nearly 10 percent tax increase for residents in the Sussex County community.
Cue the whining:
"I think the governor’s rhetoric hurt us. The governor dumping all of the state issues on the local level hurt us," Superintendent Thomas Morton said. "It’s going to be a long, hard road. We’ll start to work tomorrow."

In towns where they failed, the budgets will now be presented to the local governing body, which can cut or leave the spending plans as is.

Sparta Mayor Scott Seelagy said he wanted to analyze the budget before commenting on where the council would look for cuts.

"The voters in Sparta have sent a very strong message about how they feel about taxes," said Seelagy, who said he couldn’t recall the last time a Sparta school budget had failed. "I think people voted with their pocketbooks."
Indeed, we did. For decades we've seen runaway spending with no concern for taxpayers. People are starting to realize these votes, usually far under the radar held during the spring, have meaning as to how much their property taxes are affected. At the same time residents in this normally blue state are fed up with the unions and their goon tactics. Just running around and exploiting children to line their pockets isn't working any more. They fail to realize voters want their children to be free of crushing debt for generations.

Since I live in a sane Republican district we voted for the best of both worlds. A frozen budget that will actually bring us a decrease in our property taxes.

As for those in largely Democratic districts that voted for increased budgets, I don't want to hear any whining when your property taxes go up again. You voted for it. Naturally, some are handling it with class and dignity.
Roy DeMaio, who has two children in the Paramus public schools, disagreed.

“The governor is an idiot,” DeMaio said. “He’s so into cuts for others and then gives his own staff big raises. The school districts are getting hammered. There’s a better way to make cuts. He should start in the government.”

Hackensack resident Cathy Mirra was so angry at Christie that she voted for the first time ever in a school election Tuesday. She cast her ballot in favor of the budget.

“It’s a vote for our children against our governor,” she said. “How dare he say don’t vote for [the budget].”
Does this dimwit even realize he's the governor?

Linked at Instapundit, AoS and Hot Air. Thanks!

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