Whither Goes NJ?April 21, 2010
Christie’s “Seismic Shift”April 22, 2010
The election results are obviously a big setback for the Democratic Party-government union alliance that has ruled Trenton for the past decade. So far, Governor Christie is winning the spending debate. The lesson for other governors is that opposition from public-employee unions is not insurmountable if you can articulate to voters what’s at stake.
Joseph Marbach, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall:
I think the governor was very successful in … portraying the teachers union as out of touch with what’s going on with working families. The voters are more aligned with his position… I think it … gives him continued momentum to continue to rein in costs.
In this springtime production, Gov. Chris Christie played the Wizard of Oz, pulling levers to produce thunder and fire, while casting teachers union president Barbara Keshishian as the Wicked Witch of Trenton.The governor apparently won over most of the audience. Yesterday he said the voters’ rejection of a majority of school budgets shows they agree with his push for “real, fundamental change.” But there is still strong public support for New Jersey’s public schools as evidenced by the 41 percent of budgets passed and the narrow margins of defeat for many others.
It connects with a little bit of the tax rebellion going on in the state and nation. Maybe we can’t afford the Cadillac. We have to go back to the Ford version of our education.
Teachers and teachers union leaders who continue to ignore or minimize these facts do so at their own peril. They want to look at voters rejecting budgetsas an evil attack on kids brought on by a Darth Vader in the governor’s mansion. They don’t want to recognize that when people say they’re fed up with the continual property tax increases that outpace their modest income increases, they actually mean it. That’s why Christie got elected in November and why school budgets got voted down Tuesday.
Patrick Murry, Director of the Monmouth U. Polling Institute, in New Jersey Newsroom:
So, here’s what we know about the New Jersey public:
- They think the size of the cuts in state aid to local schools is unfair.
- They think the teachers’ unions should be willing to come to the table and agree to a wage freeze and benefit contributions.
- They don’t want educational programs cut.
- They don’t want their property taxes raised.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney in PolitickerNJ:
He’s cut school funding dramatically but he has people thinking it’s other people who are the problem. He found a villain in the teachers, and he’s saying, ‘It’s not me, it’s these guys over here. Politically, it was a masterful job. He cut the funding to cause taxes to go through the roof, so it’s his lack of funding causing school budgets to go up. And people are angry.