New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is proposing a state constitutional amendment that would cap annual property tax increases at 2.5%. In another contender for Today’s Dumbest Comment, Barbara Keshishan, the president of the New Jersey Education Association, described this proposal as “an official attack on the very future of public education.”
Would that it were so. The people running the New Jersey public schooling system are really beyond belief. Their haughty “let them eat cake” attitude about the struggles of New Jersey citizens who are among the highest taxed in the country, their shockingly high salaries and obscene benefits packages, their shameless manipulation of students to serve their own crassly selfish ends, their demonizing of anyone who dares disagree with them, and now their transparently self-serving claim that if they don’t get more than an annual 2.5% raise it will mean the end of public education.
New Jersey teachers have seen their pay and benefits skyrocket over the last ten years, and to pay for it taxes have risen apace. According to the Record, state property taxes have increased from an average of $4,429 in 2000 to $7,281 in 2009, while the state population and the number of students has remained relatively flat.
At my local school district’s Board of Education meeting last night, we were subject to two and a half hours of self-congratulation on how wonderful they are doing, along with repeated rantings about how evil Governor Christie is. To add insult to injury, there were not-so-veiled ominous threats about how if they don’t get more money, who knows exactly how our kids will have to be made to suffer. Pay anything toward their own benefits? Of course not, you silly, silly peasant. No, we’ll cut your music teacher and kindergarten. Wouldn’t want that, now would you . . . ?
Capping annual increases at 2.5% is obviously not a “cut,” and obviously not “a jackhammer, destroying the delivery of essential services.” People making claims like that have no credibility, and are demonstrating only their disconnection from reality in a desperate attempt to keep their gravy train going. One can only wish that these people were not in charge of educating our children. If Governor Christie’s proposals can weaken their stranglehold on the state and its taxpayers even a little, all the better.