The Corner

‘Slicing NJ’s Schools’

In today’s New York Post, Eileen Norcross of the Mercatus Center looks at New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s budget policies. When it comes to budget cuts, Norcross isn’t easy to please, but she is pretty impressed by Governor Christie.

Gov. Chris Christie is making good on his promise to get tough with New Jersey’s $2.2 billion budget gap — by taking aim at one of the drivers of the state’s out-of-control taxes: school budgets.

Under Christie’s budget, New Jersey’s 605 school districts will see their state aid reduced by 5 percent of their last budget. That trims state spending by $820 million, forcing school districts to make deeper cuts or raise property taxes.

If it stopped there, Christie’s one-time aid cut would do nothing but aggravate property-tax payers. But he’s also seeking a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to lower the property-tax cap from 4 to 2.5 percent — preventing localities from guzzling at the local revenue tap while blaming it on Trenton’s stinginess.

If you are interested in New Jersey’s fiscal problems, I would recommend that you read the study “Institutions Matter: Can New Jersey Reverse Course.” In this comprehensive work, Eileen Norcross and her co-author Frederic Sautet take apart the New Jersey budget and explain what’s wrong and what should be done.

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