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April 4, 2011

RE:     State Treasurer Testifies Before Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
           Addresses Possible Supreme Court School Funding Mandate.

Dear Mayor:

In his testimony before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today, State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff summarized the presentation he had given before the Assembly Budget Committee last week. The testimony can be accessed at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/Budget_2012/Treasurer_testimony_03292011.pdf.

In that testimony, the Treasurer listed “municipal aid, higher education, and prescription drug benefits for seniors,” as “core priorities” that would be protected by the Governor’s proposed budget. He also noted that these priorities would be protected, “… while increasing student financial assistance, providing about $250 million in additional aid to school districts, a $20 million increase for hospitals …, increased pay-as-you-go financing for critical transportation infrastructure projects, and doubling of the Homestead Benefit.”

In response to a question raised by Committee Chairman, Senator Paul Sarlo, concerning the possible impact of a Supreme Court decision against the State in the current School Funding case that would require additional State spending, the Treasurer said that the solution could NOT include any new revenue source (taxes or fees). The Treasurer indicated that the State would have to find “whatever resources we need in order to meet a potential Court order within our current revenue base.”

Treasurer Sidamon-Eristoff was asked about what funding might be cut to meet any Court ordered funding mandates. He indicated that, IF that were necessary, he would recommend that the Governor and the Legislature consider reductions in direct property tax relief, municipal aid, higher education, hospital funding (including charity care) and school aid that is outside the formula (such as pre-K), Medicaid and health benefits for seniors would also need to be on the table to fund a Supreme Court mandate.

If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-4581, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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