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* Christie Cuts Harrison School Aid


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Governor Chris Christie announced in a speech last Thursday before a Joint Session of the Legislature that he was withholding state aid to school districts including Harrison. Harrison is losing $2.455 million in school district aid.

Harrison's $2.455 million may seem high but Christie is withholding $29.3 million from Union City and $25.26 million from Perth Amboy. Other local school districts are slated to lose as follows: East Newark $827,937; Kearny $3.87 million; North Bergen $2.058 million and Jersey City $3.565 million.

Christie made an appearance with Michael Aron on NJN's On The Record immediately after his Joint Session of the Legislature speech. Christie explained his budget cuts in more detail. With respect to school funding, he explained that the cuts reflected dollar for dollar local school budget surplus above 2% of the school's district's budget. So the above numbers reflect surplus money in various school budgets above and beyond a 2% surplus which schools were allowed to maintain in case of an unforeseen emergency. In other words, school districts had too much money in reserve and therefore did not need state aid.

During the On The Record show, Christie was very comfortable explaining his position on the cuts that he had ordered. He was extremely frank and even stated that if voters were not happy with his decisions they could vote him out in four years. His business like attitude is extremely refreshing. New Jersey is facing a reported 11 billion dollar budget deficit in fiscal year 2010. I am glad Christie is at the head of our state trying to solve the state's budgetary deficit.

As I have stated on several occasions, local residents have been under financial stress for over two years. Our nation is facing the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression. Christie gets it. New Jersey cannot afford to give government employees the type of health, pension, and sick time benefits they currently have. Government employees must face reality. Christie asked legislators to join him in the center of the room to find a solution. He went on to say that those who did not come to the center of the room to help find a solution would be dragged out from their corner and brought into the center. Dramatic but he meant it. You could see him grabbing someone by the collar and dragging him/her out of their corner.

New Jersey must be run more like a Business. Christie understands the economic crisis facing New Jersey's residents. He intends to make government employees understand that business as usual is over. I applaud his effort to save New Jersey.

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