I will make up my own mind about the budget.

I was forwarded the following letter last night by someone who wished not to be identified. The person took acception to Governor Christie’s recent statement that urged voters to turn down their local school budget if teachers in their towns refused to take a wage freeze .

I agree with the letter writer and the comments that this person added at the bottom of it from a few who responded to the story that was posted on NJ.com about the governor’s comments.

I think the governor’s comments were both reckless and callous. If voters turn down school budgets across the state next week it will result in more teachers being let go and sports programs and after school activities being cut or eliminated, which would be a real shame due to the fact that many students need of those types of programs for possible scholarships opportunities and to bulk up their college transcripts in order to get into their preferred college of choice.
Here’s the letter:

Imagine telling your grown kids, heck, your parents how to vote. I don’t know about you but it would go over like a lead balloon in many New Jersey households. I believe one of the basic tenets of the constitution is the right to make a free and unfettered choice on how to vote on Election Day. Chris Christie must have missed that day in civics class.

I would never have believed this headline if I had not read it for myself.

“Gov. Chris Christie urges voters to reject school districts’ budgets without wage freezes for teachers” NJ.com

First of all, you have to wonder what the real reason is behind this declaration. Is it that Christie is nervous about the tax increases that have accompanied those proposed budgets? The ones that were caused by “The self-proclaimed “conservative” Republican is cutting suburban property tax relief by amounts unimaginable even under the liberal Democrat he defeated” to quote Paul Mulshine.

Those tax increases scare him and that does not even take into account what will happen the following school year when districts have no tax relief to offer their residents. He may be at war with the NJEA but his GOP legislators are the ones who have to hang their hats and their necks on the line for this budget, especially next year when they run for election. From what I hear the legislative kitchen is getting pretty hot these days.

Then you have to wonder why the Governor doesn’t lead by example. Let him take a pay cut and contribute 1.5% of his salary to his health insurance. Well he hasn’t even offered. Neither have all those legislators in Trenton who should know better.

They can’t even get the stories straight in Trenton, because today at a Senate budget hearing , Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler said he would not recommend voters reject those budgets when they go to the polls on April 20. Schools are dealing with a nearly $820 million cut in funding while facing increasing salary and benefits costs. He tried to reinterpret what the Governor said to make it sound more palatable. I’m sorry, I like many other voters choked on the Governor’s very clear words.
If you check out the latest Monmouth University/Gannett poll it makes it very clear.
The governor is more likely to be blamed by registered voters for impending teacher layoffs statewide than either the teachers unions or local school boards, according to the results of a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll.
Fully 44 percent cite Christie as the party responsible for school districts reducing work forces in order to balance budgets for the next school year, while 28 percent blame the unions and 17 percent the school boards, according to poll results.

“It’s Goliath versus Goliath,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch. “But the governor’s bluster in taking on the teachers union has backfired.”
It goes on to say,
When asked specifically about the governor’s proposed cuts in state aid to towns and school districts, more than half (52%) feel those cuts are unfair in comparison to cuts made in other areas of the budget. Only 28% say these cuts in local aid are fair.

“The local aid reduction, particularly to schools, was always going to be the flashpoint for criticism of the plan, and the governor’s clash with the NJEA only increased the heat. If part of his strategy was to win over public opinion, it hasn’t been an overwhelming success,” said Murray.
I don’t even need a poll to tell me that. I found some particularly enlightening words on Bluejersey.com.
I think it’s fair to say the students are being held hostage in the disputes between the Governor, the school boards, and the unions. In that complex multi-sided hostage standoff, Christie just asked the bystanders to shoot the hostages. We already have voters who routinely reject school budgets because they resent paying taxes for the public school system that has been benefiting our society for generations. To recklessly ask them to reject budgets wholesale is in my opinion a shocking tactic, especially when rejecting a budget will not release school districts from the contract their leadership willingly signed. Rejecting the budget won’t hurt most teachers directly.

I say let people judge each budget on its own merits. Let’s not let anyone dictate to us how we should vote. In Middletown, the budget has been cut by a staggering amount ($9,608,000) and is already putting 124 district personnel on the street in July. Those people and many others will be joining the ranks of the unemployed who will require unemployment benefits from our deleted funds. They may find more residents going into foreclosure and selling homes, dampening a poor housing market.
The one thing I can promise is that if budget are voted down your kids will be the ones that are hurt.
Just listen to some fellow residents posting on NJ.com
Posted by lakeline
April 12, 2010, 3:14PM
I’m not a teacher, but I have two kids in school and I wish the Governor would stop hurting their education. Since he has failed to sway the Teacher’s Union himself, he’s pushing us to do it for him. Every failed budget reduces a kids education in multiple ways. Sure, negotiate with your teachers for reasonable compromises, but Vote Yes for your budget. We don’t all have the Governor’s money to send our kids to Private School

Posted by netspider
April 12, 2010, 2:44PM
Gov. Christie you have crossed the line with this statement. Shame on You. How can you ethically make a comment on how anyone should vote.

Posted by kadtom
April 12, 2010, 2:31PM
Are you kidding Me? The governor is now trying to dictate what the public people should do?? I can’t believe I voted for a dictator who’s children don’t even attend public schools? I moved to Chatham for the good schools. Good schools and location are why my property values are highly appraised. If I want to vote yes I will! Don’t dictate to the people who elected you governor! You lost my vote, that’s for sure.


Filed under Blue Jersey, budget cuts, Education Funding, Gov. Chris Christie, layoffs, NJ.com, NJEA, Teachers

7 responses to “I will make up my own mind about the budget.

  1. We have a despot in the governor's chair in Trenton and we have a despot in the mayor's chair in Middletown and the citizens should stand up to both of them.Using our children as hostages in this political battle is as low as you can go.Had occasion to be in attendance in Freehold when the now Lt. Governor was sheriff in Monmouth County and lead her jail guards (unionized) in their fight against the Freeholders.Which side of her mouth is she talking out of now?Politics is a disgusting ,rotten business and when it uses the education of the children of N.J. as a gun to the citizens of New Jersey's heads….maybe we should RID ourselves of ALL of them and start over. This is not government.it's tyranny!This is not democracy at work,it's a dictatorship.

  2. I totally agree with the Governor. Pay freezes are all they had to do and they would not have to cut any programs or teacher's positions. But the NJEA is greedy and wants power. NJEA does not care about the Education of our Children that is a fact. The crime is NJEA not firing to a$$ that called upon NJEA wishing for our Governor's death. That's the criminal minds of NJEA who control and are destroying he educational system. VOTE NO TO MIDDETOWN BUDGET IS A NO-BRAINER.

  3. I'm not a fan of the NJEA either, but how does voting no on the budget hurt them? We can't do anything about teachers salaries/benefits until they re- negotiate their contracts next year. I'm sure it will be quite a different picture then and the BOE will remember their lack of cooperation when BOE and community needed it most.Voting no to the budget will hurt our schools and children with more cuts to programs and larger class sizes. Take your anger out on the Gov and NJEA, the BOE and children are the victims here.

  4. All the teacher's had to do was take a pay freeze for 1 year, there would not have been any cuts to the programs, and no layoffs.But NJEA does not care about the children.Vote NO to the budget and thank goodness we have a great Governor & Lt Governor to straighten out this State and educational system that is flawed beyond it means

  5. People like you are sooo misinformed it makes me sick!!Middletown lost $11 million in aid, there was no way on earth that pay freezes and higher contribution payments towards health care would have saved enough money to spare jobs and programs with in the Middletown school system.It's nice that your care enough to show your ignorance when it comes to such important issues as the well being of our school children!!

  6. I suppose Everyone who has an issue with the governor's call to vote no of the budget, will take issue with every school phone blitzing parents to vote yes. Or the fact they Schools have cancelled learning, in the form of homework, in return they have the children beg thier parents to take them to school to vote on some silly subject, just to get their parents in.

  7. I don't know, that may be or may not be so.

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