Volume 5/Issue 19

  • Assembly Republican Leader Announces Support for Increasing Gas Tax
  • State Revenues Trending Upward
  • New "Teacher Leader" Bill Signed into Law
  • Participate in NJ Academic Standards Review

Assembly Republican Leader Announces Support for Increasing Gas Tax

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick announced last week that he would vote for an increase in the gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure projects if legislation to lower the estate and inheritance taxes was simultaneously passed by lawmakers.  A gas tax increase would help to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for such projects and is facing insolvency by June 2016.

The assemblyman made his remarks before the NJ Business Summit, a conference organized by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce that attracted more than 500 representatives of the state’s business community and trade associations, Christie administration officials, state legislators, labor, higher education, local government officials and others.  The goal of the summit was to discuss specific recommendations for solving the state’s economic issues and to formulate “next steps” to present to state government leaders.

According to NJBIZ, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Sweeney acknowledged a willingness to negotiate, but pointed out that completely eliminating the estate and inheritance taxes would cause a $400 million revenue gap in the budget. The Senate President favors a phased elimination of the taxes and not linking it to a gas tax increase.

It remains to be seen as to whether Governor Christie and legislature will work towards a vote on transportation trust fund plan, that includes a gas tax increase, in the legislative sessions immediately following the November elections or if the issue will addressed by the new legislature that starts in January.

State Revenues Trending Upward

State collections for major revenues for August 2015 are up by over $57 million from August 2014 and in line with the State Treasurer’s projected growth rate estimate of 3.4 percent for FY 2016.

Through July and August, revenue collections total approximately $2.18 billion compared to $2.14 billion during the same time span in Fiscal Year 2015.

Click here to review the full Treasury report.

New "Teacher Leader" Bill Signed into Law

Legislation authorizing a teacher leader endorsement to a teacher's instructional certificate was signed into law last week by Governor Christie.

The new law, sponsored by Senators Jim Whelan and Teresa Ruiz and Assembly members Mila Jasey and Patrick Diegnan, is intended to create pathways for teachers seeking to advance as leaders within their school districts while remaining in the classroom.

Under the law, a teacher leader would also be expected to coach and work collaboratively with colleagues to ensure that instructional practices are aligned to a shared mission, vision, and goals, and would promote the use of assessments and data for school and district improvement.

According to the Governor’s Office, the measure matches an initiative first called for by Governor Christie in 2011 as part of his education reform agenda to establish new career credentials, ladders, and professional development opportunities for New Jersey's best teachers.

Participate in NJ Academic Standards Review

The New Jersey Department of Education is conducting its review of the state’s academic standards, which are aligned national Common Core standards, covering English, language arts, and math and has invited members of the public to provide feedback through an online survey.

The survey provides everyone from parents to corporate citizens an opportunity to provide thoughts on how our schools can best prepare our students to be college and career ready, regardless of where a child lives, his or her socio-economic background. The goal is to provide children with a first rate education and to ensure that New Jersey schools are competitive on a national and global level.

The “We Raise NJ Coalition,” comprised of education groups, parent organizations, and business advocates has developed step-by-step directions on how to access the survey and provide feedback.   We invite interested “In the Loop” readers to participate.