Senate Republicans Propose School Funding Reforms to Improve Opportunities for Students, Provide Property Tax Relief for Families
Proposals Eliminate Abuses, Establish More Equitable Funding for Overlooked Students in Underfunded Districts
In an effort to improve educational opportunities for New Jersey students and provide real property tax relief to overburdened families, New Jersey Senate Republicans released a series of school funding reform proposals as the starting point for discussions on the replacement of the state’s failed school funding system.
“Senate Republicans want to fix the broken school funding formula that has failed too many students and devastated middle-class property taxpayers,” said Kean. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves to negotiate a funding formula that works, and we’re prepared to come to the table with detailed solutions that we believe will improve educational opportunities statewide and make New Jersey more affordable.”
During his Budget Message last month, Governor Christie challenged the legislative leaders of both parties to join with him to work on a new funding formula to replace the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA).
A trio of bills sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington), Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon) and Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth) aimed at reducing waste by encouraging more donation and recycling of food were advanced by the Senate Environment Committee.
“Unfortunately, there are still many in New Jersey that struggle to find the next meal for their families,” Senator Allen said. “We hope that by cutting back on waste at our schools and other institutions we can get more food to people who need it.”
Senate Republicans Steven Oroho, Mike Doherty and Sam Thompson issued the following statement on the first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness. As committee members, the senators are working on a bipartisan basis to examine the state’s broken school funding system – a major component of New Jersey’s property tax crisis.
“This committee to examine school funding reform was created on a bipartisan basis, and I am encouraged by the fact that we seem to share a common goal,” Senator Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset) said. I’ve had a constitutional amendment in since 2011 to make school funding as equitable as possible. I’ve been in this fight to restore fairness to school funding and provide property tax relief to residents for years. Our taxpayers and our children deserve no less.”
“Our flawed school funding formula creates inequities that hurt students and taxpayers alike,” Senator Steven Oroho (R–Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “I am hopeful that this committee will not limit itself to making slight adjustments to the current formula or just look to throw more money at the problem when we already spend near the top nationally in state aid per pupil. We simply cannot address high property taxes without enacting more comprehensive school funding reform.”
“Finding solutions to fix New Jersey’s inequitable school aid formula is critical to easing the property tax burden for our residents, especially those who reside in one of the many woefully underfunded school districts in suburban and rural communities throughout the state,” Senator Thompson (R-Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington) said. “I am committed to working diligently with my fellow committee members to finally deliver long-awaited and much needed school funding reform.”
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) issued the following statement after voting in support of S-2855, the “Electronic Publication of Legal Notices Act,” in the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee:
“We can maintain government transparency and save property taxpayers’ money by allowing for free Internet postings of legal notices on town and county websites to replace paid newspaper publication requirements,” said Thompson. “I have never once read a published legal notice in a newspaper, and I’m willing to bet that most New Jerseyans haven’t either. It’s an archaic requirement that must be updated for the Internet age.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson (R-Middlesex, Burlington, Ocean Monmouth) to promote economic growth by expanding the study of trends and opportunities for business in the state was advanced by the Senate State Government Committee.
“This will give us a central collection point for all of this data,” Senator Thompson said. “That will allow us to perform a better analysis of the business climate in the state and find out what we can do to help it.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) to rename a stretch of I-195 in Upper Freehold Township after Anthony A. Raspa, a New Jersey State Police Trooper killed in the line of duty, was passed by the New Jersey Senate.
“Whether it’s through violence or accidents, police officers risk danger every single day they go to work,” Senator Thompson said. “Trooper Raspa was a dedicated law enforcement officer who was loved by his family and community alike. Sadly, his life was cut short in a tragic accident, but hopefully this recognition of his service will live on for much longer.”
The following editorial by Senator Samuel Thompson (R-12) on the urgent need to fill vacancies on the Election Law Enforcement Commission board and preserve the public’s trust in the political process was published in The Record on August 25, 2016.
In just over a year, New Jersey voters will decide who will become the next governor and weigh in on a number of other high-profile state and local elections. Unless swift action is taken, the political organizations and lobbyists who control millions of campaign dollars spent to secure those seats may go unregulated. In turn, those who squander or try to hide donations may never be held accountable for their crimes.
Senator Samuel Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) announced plans to introduce legislation to exclude the rewards an athlete earns by winning an Olympic Medal from their state income taxes.
“As the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro draw to a close, New Jersey is preparing to welcome back more than three dozen athletes who have competed for the United States and even a few that have done well enough to earn medals. But there will be more than well-wishers waiting to celebrate their return home,” Senator Thompson said. “They can also expect a hefty tax bill to be waiting for them as well. It’s a shame that these athletes – who have reached the pinnacle of their sports – have to face the burden of paying this tax once they get home.”
Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, has introduced legislation to provide a permanent, stable source of funding for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
The TTF, which funds transportation infrastructure projects in the state, will soon lack the resources to pay for new projects. Unlike other proposals that would only serve as a short-term solution to TTF refunding for seven or ten years, Thompson’s proposal, S-2352, provides a permanent solution.
“Every few years the TTF runs out of money and short-term politics prevents the enactment of a reasonable long-term solution to transportation funding,” said Thompson. “My proposal will create a stable source of permanent funding and take the politics out of funding safe roads and bridges.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) requiring new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and should seat belts was approved by the Senate Education Committee.
“This legislation is a common-sense measure to ensure that children have the same protections on school buses that parents provide in their own family cars,” said Thompson. “Kids deserve to be safely secured in age- and size appropriate seats and restraints regardless of whether they are riding in a car or school bus.”