New Jersey governor Jon Corzine has handed his Republican challengers a golden issue. He appointed Burlington County Superintendent of Schools Lester Richens, who recently decided to forbid the Borough of Pemberton from cutting school taxes.
The proposed school district budget would have sliced almost $300 from the tax bill of the owner of an average home in the Borough. But Richens, appointed to his job by Governor Corzine, stepped in and enforced a “minimum tax levy” that effectively erased almost 60 percent of that savings.
GOP challenger Chris Christie has already issued a statement:
It’s not enough for Governor Corzine that New Jersey tax rates are among the highest in the country, he’s also hard at work making sure that local governments who want to lower taxes in their community are penalized. The Pemberton Borough School Board has done what Governor Corzine has failed to do — they used fiscal responsibility and careful budgeting to lower taxes this year. Instead of rewarding Pemberton for their efforts, Governor Corzine would rather punish them. This is emblematic of the backwards fiscal policies of the seven years of the Corzine/McGreevey Administration, and one I will permanently end as Governor.
UPDATE: The other leading candidate in the GOP primary, Steven Lonegan, also weighed in:
“Once again, Governor Corzine has shown his loyalty is to the Teachers Unions and not the taxpayers. The state needs to get out of micromanaging local government and back to basic functions of building roads, maintaining our parks and keeping our state clean.”