O’Scanlon on school funding: Dems can’t have it both ways

O’Scanlon on school funding: Dems can’t have it both ways


TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican budget officer, today called out Democrats for trying to blame the administration for underfunding school districts when they have not presented a plan to fund education. Following today’s budget hearing, O’Scanlon said it was unfair for Majority Leader Lou Greenwald to ask acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington why the education department hasn’t been able to find a solution to the funding problem.

“School funding has been a problem that Democrats have been unwilling to address for years,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Thankfully they are now talking about the inadequacies of the formula, but they can’t have it both ways. They have to man up and admit that their solutions will result in massive billion dollar tax increases or they need to accept that we need to come together to solve this problem which will unfortunately involve picking winners and losers.  But, we as legislators are the folks whose obligation it is to tell the truth.  We need to accept that and start doing our jobs.

“The fact is we have a $4 to $6 billion budget hole. We are not going to magically find another $1 or $2 billion to fully fund the formula,” he continued. “We need responsible and essential reforms to state health benefits and pension systems, but the assemblyman and his fellow Democrats are so far unwilling to admit that. They claim we have already reformed the systems. Yes, we have made some progress, but more reforms are needed.  The longer they put off that discussion, the more painful the solution will be for taxpayers and public employees who pay taxes as well.

“All that being said, I accept Majority Leader Greenwald’s challenge to work together to solve the undeniable problem of school funding.  He has been a good partner in the past.  I look forward to working with him again now and going forward.”

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