New Jersey Voters Lead Revolt Against Ever Increasing School Taxes

Written By: Robert Cox

The Wall Street Journal is calling Tuesday’s school election results in New Jersey a “populist revolt” and a sign of “the backlash to come in California, New York and other states”. New Jersey voters defeated 315 of 537, or 59%, of budgets on the ballot this week.

New Jersey Rebellion/A school budget revolt at the polls ($)

In a typical year, more than 70% of school budgets are approved; the last time voters rejected a majority was 1976. As remarkable was turnout, which was way up Tuesday, rivaling Presidential elections in some counties. Overall, 24% of registered voters turned out, up from 13.4% last year. According to New Jersey School Boards Association data, turnout hadn’t topped 18.6% in 27 years.

New Rochelle is cutting the budget this year. The Board of Education is making much of the unprecedented cut and laying of 75 employees but taxes are projected to go up 3.8%, 19% more than last year’s projected 3.2% increase. In fact, due to changes in STAR, the actual increased in school property taxes was 6-9% as Talk of the Sound has predicted prior to last year’s school elections.

This year STAR may be eliminated altogether and their still may be further cuts in education funding so residents can one again expect an actual, not projected, school tax increase of more than double the project rate.

The cuts in the budget are necessary. They certainly put the district on the right trajectory. The gap, however, between where the budget stands now and where it should when adjusted for the last three years of double-digit declines in property value as the following chart makes clear:

Bubble Gap 2010-11-small.jpg

2 thoughts on “New Jersey Voters Lead Revolt Against Ever Increasing School Taxes”

  1. I did the math, my taxes went up 6.7% NOT 3.2%
    It just comical that anyone can beleive the school board on the budget. They were off by 210% last year! Thats a pretty miserable showing that we all should use as a guide for this years school budget vote. For the school board to be that far off on the budget makes you wonder if they didn’t out right lie on the budget resolution that was passed last year. Its almost criminal.

    Since the board projects a 3.7% increase and based on last years miscalculation, we can assume then that the real number will be more like 7.77%. Since I’m paying around $9,000 now, my school tax bill next year will be closer to $10,000 and that’s a level of increase thats unacceptable but the school board just doesn’t get it. They should have tired to keep the increase as close to 0 as possible but didn’t. People are losing their jobs and homes, but life goes on as usual at the school board as if nothings changed and a lot has in the last 18 to 24 months.

    I for 1 am sick and tired of the relentless 10% annual school tax increases and hope others are as well and everyone goes out and votes NO on the school budget. Maybe this’ll be the year the budget goes down in defeat. We need to send a message to the board that we can no longer blindly go along with and support their miscalculations, I mean budgets! New Jersians did it yesterday and so can we.

    Think of this, my taxes have almost doubled over the last 10 years, from about $7,500 to almost $15,000 and probably will double in another 10 years to $30,000. Now my question is, who’s going to want to buy my house that has a tax bill of $30,000. The simple answer is probably very few people will want to buy it or be even able to afford it so I’ll end up having to drastically lowering the price in order to sell.

  2. Vote NO!
    I for one plan to vote both the school and library budgets down. Both institutions are overstaffed and employees are overpaid and New Rochelleans are overtaxed. NJ is on the right track.

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