Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comments on Steve Lonegan's Campaign

I reviewed Steve Lonegan's web page. I think his campaign is based too much on the Liberal/Conservative divide. In New Jersey, the Liberals are likely to win that battle. He has to find a way to get around that problem.

Here are issues that I see that might work for Steve Lonegan:

(1) Educational funding-The court mandated policy of funding extremely high per pupil expenditures for poor urban school districts has failed educationally and is bankrupting the state. Less than 25% of the Newark high school students pass the high school exam even though we are paying 19K per pupil. So this is 20 years of a failed policy.

Basically, the Supreme Court judges who mandated this policy are like those stiffs who try to reform the Three Stooges. Except that in the Stooges, the stiffs learn quickly what can be changed and what can't be changed. Mainly because the stiffs are the ones paying for it. The judges have never learned that lesson because they aren't the ones paying.

The educational funding formula has caused massive funding cuts for suburban and rural districts that have greatly boosted property taxes in those districts. In my view, it doesn't matter whether you are a Liberal or Conservative, McCain supporter or Obama supporter. If you live in a town that was flat funded for six years under the McGreevy/Codey/Corzine administrations, regardless of how many more pupils your district had, then how can you support a Governor who wants to continue a version of this policy.

Furthermore, why are wealthy districts such as Hoboken still being funded as if they were poor districts?

So I think Steve Lonegan needs to play up the suburban vs. Newark/Jersey City/Hoboken issue.

(2) Married vs. single issue-The earned income credit greatly favors single parents with children over married parents with children. There is no justification for such a tax rebate that does this. And the homestead rebate law greatly favors singles over married people. As does the pension exclusion cutoff.

So I think Steve Lonegan needs to play up this married vs. single issue.

(3) Constitutional reform-In the short term, courts can mandate things such as massive educational funding for poor schools even though I can't see how this policy has any basis in the constitution. What we need is a referendum so that policies such as Abbott can be eliminated without having to go to court.

And we could have Swiss style direct democracy for educational budgets rather than just having the Board vote on things.

Will that work? I am not sure yet.

(4) Transportation-Corzine continues to support boondoggle projects such as the Atlantic City Railroad and passes on the costs of those projects to other NJ Transit riders. What will the Hudson Tunnel cost each year to fund? And what I think Steve Lonegan needs to emphasize-Why should New Jersey be funding a project that is massively benefiting New York's, not New Jersey's tax base.