Category Archives: Financial crisis

Middletown’s School Board President Laura Agin To Gov. Christie: "We Get It"

At last week’s March 4th “Community Forum on State Aid Cuts” held by the Middeltown Board of Education, School Board President Laura Agin read the following statement. The statement was frank, to the point and said exactly what many need to say and what others need to hear:

“On behalf of the Middletown Board of Education, I would like to tell you all: We Get It. We understand New Jersey’s fiscal crisis. We realize the state is running out of money and we appreciate our governor’s need to fill a multi-billion dollar budget gap. We know that no part of the public sector has been left untouched and we accept that school aid needed to be appropriated to assist in solving the state’s budget shortfalls. Middletown gave; we gave $2.8 million.


We strive for efficiency. Our budgets are developed including all of our stakeholders. We involve Parent Information Groups and Ad Hoc Committees. We have passed seven of our last eight budgets by educating our community and fostering an understanding of the efficiencies in our district. We have remained well below the 4% state mandated budget cap each of these budget years despite ever decreasing state aid to Middletown. We have diligently maintained a fund balance through prudent budget management, as required by law. We have absorbed unfunded state mandates while maintaining the integrity and quality of other programs and services.

We have continued to build on these efficiencies by improving the way we deliver instruction. We have developed programs to keep students in district thereby reducing costly out of district tuitions. We have decreased our need for support staff by introducing best practice instructional models in our elementary and middle schools. We have made strategic reductions in order to modernize our district without adding to the overall budget. We implemented full day kindergarten with no cost to the community by restructuring teaching assignments.

We’ve tackled tough issues. Negotiations with our bargaining units have consistently yielded positive results for our district. We have achieved cost savings by increasing health care co-pays and eliminating traditional insurance plans for employees. We have negotiated caps for accrued sick and vacation time. Recent negotiations with our Administrators Association yielded the lowest cost increase in the county, maybe the state.

We have heard that’s not enough. We understand there should be parity between the real world and the public sector. Our economy demands it, our community now expects it. But Middletown cannot achieve this in isolation. Past Middletown boards have tried to rein in contracts with dire, long-term consequences to the district. We cannot and will not do that again.

But make no mistake. The leadership in this district is willing to continue to make tough choices. We will support legislative reform designed to provide the tools we need to further reduce costs. We will continue to work with our township to increase shared services and inter-local agreements.

We recognize and fully understand New Jersey’s fiscal crisis. Though begrudgingly, we accept that our fund balance, our budgeted tax relief, our $2.8 million, funded primarily by taxpayers in this district, has been appropriated by the state to plug the state budget hole. You will hear Mrs. Bilbao outline cost reduction measures to be implemented for the coming year to account for this loss of funds.

But now we truly believe we have paid our share. The portion of our state aid has been a mere 16% of our total revenue despite a state average of 41%. Our towns are measured by the quality of our educational programs. We will not be able to sustain our momentum or continue to deliver quality instruction with further reductions in our state revenue. Our taxpayers should not be asked to pay a larger portion again. We implore our representatives and our governor to maintain our current level of aid going forward.”

Update:

I failed to mention that the text of Laura Agin letter was included in an email newsletter from
the Dollars and Sense Education Advocacy group. This group has conducted extensive research, published position papers, and sponsored public forums, all focused on the issues facing schools, school children, and taxpayers .

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Filed under budget cuts, Financial crisis, Gov. Chris Christie, Middletown Board of Education, New Jersey

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 6/20/09

The President explains his plan to address one of the major causes of the current economic crisis — the breakdown of oversight leading to widespread abuses in the financial world. The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency will have the sole job of looking out for the financial interests of ordinary Americans by banning unfair practices and enforcing the rules. This is a cornerstone in Americas new economic foundation.

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Filed under Consumer Financial Protection Agency, Financial crisis, financial oversight, President Obama, weekly address

McGovern Warns Obama of LBJ Legacy

In 1964, President Johnson said of Vietnam that “I don’t think it’s worth fighting for, and I don’t think that we can get out. Its just the biggest damn mess I ever saw.” Yet Johnson escalated the conflict and America became bogged down in Southeast Asia for more than a decade. Former Senator George McGovern recently sat down with ANP and said that President Obama runs the risk, like Johnsons Great Society, of hobbling his ambitious domestic goals if he continues to send troops into Afghanistan.

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Filed under Afganistan, American News Project, Barack Obama, Financial crisis, George McGovern, Iraq, Lyndon Johnson, Veitnam

Governor Jon S. Corzine :Doing What’s Right

The following is a letter from Governor Corzine that I received in my inbox a few hours after he presented his budget to the State Legislature yesterday:

Friends-

Today, I submitted my executive budget for the 2010 fiscal year to the people of New Jersey. I take this responsibility seriously, and though this is my fourth budget, I remain as committed to doing what’s right for the long-term economic health and prosperity of our state as I was when I submitted my first.

Because of the additional challenges facing our state brought on by the national financial crisis, I approached this budget with three primary objectives:

Protect education, health care and the state’s most vulnerable. I have proposed adding $300 to state aid for schools, $25 million in new aid for pre-k expansion and $149 million for Family Care. I’ve also proposed over $1 billion for 1 million New Jersey residents through direct property tax relief by insuring that Seniors receive the same property-tax rebates as last year, and preserving rebates for non-senior households earning $75,000 or less.

Allow New Jersey to remain ahead of the national economic crisis. This is my smallest budget since becoming Governor, with over $4 billion in cut spending. I have cut the operational costs of state government by more than $380 million, and reduced 850 line items, including proposed wage freezes and furloughs for state workers that will save our state hundreds of millions of dollars (because I believe that is a better to keep people employed and insured than on unemployment lines and Medicaid rolls). I have also asked the most fortunate in our society should pitch in, which is why I’m slightly increasing the income tax rate for the just-over 1 percent of New Jerseyans earning over $500,000.
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Prepare NJ to capitalize when the national economy rebounds. My Economic Assistance & Recovery Plan introduced last fall, in partnership with the Legislature, provided relief for those that need it now, while dramatically improving the State’s business climate and creating a jobs program to pave the way for a better tomorrow. I have worked hard to bring fiscal responsibility to Trenton by eliminating gimmicks, implementing spending cuts and making government itself more efficient and affordable. As such, New Jersey is well positioned to deal with this national crisis, and when the tide begins to turn we will be able to quickly put people back to work and increase funding for the programs that we all value.

We anticipated this downturn last year and cut the budget last year by the largest amount ever, setting the table for this budget. I am proud that we have be able to balance the most difficult budget in state history without a broad-based income or sales-tax increase and without hurting the people hit hardest by the recession.

But this isn’t about me. This is about not shying away from the difficult decisions and doing what’s right for the families of New Jersey.

I have laid out a clear set of priorities for the state, and put us on a path that I believe will keep New Jersey ahead of the curve in handling the national financial crisis. I’ve had to make some tough calls to forge this honestly-balanced budget, but I believe that this budget maintains our core values as a State by ensuring that we continue to nurture our children, honor our seniors, and protect the most vulnerable among us.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and reactions in the weeks ahead, and I thank you for your continued support.

Governor Jon S. Corzine

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Filed under Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, Families, Financial crisis, Gov.Jon Corzine, Health Care, New Jersey, property tax rebates, Seniors, State budget, State Legislature

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 2/28/09

President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight.

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Filed under Budget, corporate tax breaks, Education, family struggles, federal budget deficit, Financial crisis, healthcare costs, President Obama, renewable energy, weekly address

How The World Almost Came To An End At 2PM On September 18

Very Interesting – So how closed did the nation’s banking system come from a total meltdown on September 18th of last year? Extremely close, within hours as a matter of fact.

On C-Span, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) explained how the Federal Reserve told members of Congress about an electronic run on the banks “to the tune of $550 billion dollars” within “an hour or two” last fall.

According to Kanjorski, on September 18, 2008 the Fed tried to “stem the tide” by pumping money into the financial system but it didn’t work and decided instead to announce an immediate increase in deposit insurance to $250,000 per account to stop the panic.

Said Kanjorski: “If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2 p.m. that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.” –Political Wire

Watch and listen to what Rep. Kanjroski had to say about this on C-Span yesterday morning. Its kind of scary if you really think about it and to find out that our banking system is not much better off today then it was it was 4 months ago makes you want to scratch your head. 
After hearing this, I now understand why Treasury Secretary Geithner feel that the new financial bailout plan needs to be so bold and large in scope.

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Filed under bailout, banking system, C-Span, economy, Federal Reserve, Financial crisis, meltdown, Rep. Paul Kanjorskie, Treasury SecretaryTim Geithner, US Treasury

How The World Almost Came To An End At 2PM On September 18

Very Interesting – So how closed did the nation’s banking system come from a total meltdown on September 18th of last year? Extremely close, within hours as a matter of fact.

On C-Span, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) explained how the Federal Reserve told members of Congress about an electronic run on the banks “to the tune of $550 billion dollars” within “an hour or two” last fall.

According to Kanjorski, on September 18, 2008 the Fed tried to “stem the tide” by pumping money into the financial system but it didn’t work and decided instead to announce an immediate increase in deposit insurance to $250,000 per account to stop the panic.

Said Kanjorski: “If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2 p.m. that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.” –Political Wire

Watch and listen to what Rep. Kanjroski had to say about this on C-Span yesterday morning. Its kind of scary if you really think about it and to find out that our banking system is not much better off today then it was it was 4 months ago makes you want to scratch your head. 
After hearing this, I now understand why Treasury Secretary Geithner feel that the new financial bailout plan needs to be so bold and large in scope.

Leave a comment

Filed under bailout, banking system, C-Span, economy, Federal Reserve, Financial crisis, meltdown, Rep. Paul Kanjorskie, Treasury SecretaryTim Geithner, US Treasury