Volume 7/Issue 13

  • Lawmakers Announce School Funding Plan
  • Post Primary Gubernatorial Tidbits
  • Congressman MacArthur Event with President Trump Raises $800K

Lawmakers Announce School Funding Plan

Last evening, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced that they had reached an agreement on a new school funding plan that includes $146 million in aid for underfunded districts, of which $100 million is new school aid and $46 million is reallocated Adjustment Aid from school districts that are overfunded.  The agreement caps the Adjustment Aid cuts in affected districts to no more than 1.5 percent of their school budgets. The plan also includes $25 million to expand pre-school education.

The consensus comes after both houses held months of hearings on the inequity of the current school funding, with the Senate and Assembly offering competing proposals.  It also follows Governor Chris Christie’s call to reach a compromise on school funding within 100 days of his budget speech, though that deadline passed last week.

"This is the type of compromise the Assembly was looking for – one that does not hurt children while providing immediate relief to the most troubled school districts, beginning the work of fairly adjusting school aid and making a major investment in preschool education," said Assembly Speaker Prieto.

Senate President Sweeney noted that “This is a significant reform that lifts the Growth Cap to provide increased aid to fast-growing districts and begins the phase-out of Adjustment Aid from districts that are getting more state aid than they are entitled to receive.”

The plan is opposed by the NJEA.  It still must receive the approval of Governor Christie to be enacted.

Post-Primary Gubernatorial Tidbits  

After winning their respective gubernatorial primaries, former Ambassador Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno have focused on setting up their state political party organizations for the fall general election campaign. 

Traditionally, both candidates for governor select their chairs for the Democratic and Republican State Committees shortly after the June Primary Election Day.  The committees play a key role in coordinating the governor campaigns with down ballot races, as well as each organization’s get-out-the-vote efforts. 

Ambassador Murphy gave his approval to the State Democratic Party to keep current Chairman John Currie, who also serves as the leader of the Passaic County Democratic Committee.  

The new chair of the Republican State Committee is Hackettstown Mayor Mike Lavery, who ascended to the position after some controversy.  Lt. Governor Guadagno originally chose Warren County Party Chairman Doug Steinhardt to lead the GOP organization. Mr. Steinhardt was viewed as a consensus candidate between the backers of the Lt. Governor’s candidacy for Governor and those who supported Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. 

However, after Chairman Steinhart’s wife was nominated by Governor Christie to the State Parole Board on Tuesday, the Lt. Governor indicated that she was concerned with the “optics” of Mrs. Steinhardt’s nomination coming at the same time Mr. Steinhardt was about to take the chairmanship.   This prompted the switch to Mayor Lavery, whose nomination was ratified by the GOP State Committee, though not without criticism by the powerful chairmen of some key county organizations, entities that the Lt. Governor will need to rely on for the fall general election. 

In other news, much of the gubernatorial campaign focus for the next month will center on who is selected to run for the position of Lieutenant Governor.   By law, the lieutenant governor candidates must be named 30 days after the results of the primary are certified and no later than August 13.   Several legislators, local officials and members of the business community have been mentioned as possible candidates for both parties.

Congressman MacArthur Event with President Trump Raises $800K

According to news reports, Congressman Tom MacArthur’s fundraiser with President Trump last weekend raised $800K for his re-election effort. The event was held at the President’s Bedminster Golf Club, with Governor Christie in attendance.

Congressman MacArthur took a high-profile role in developing recent changes to the American Health Care Act, the GOP effort to repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

As reported in Politico, MacArthur campaign spokesman Chris Russell noted that President "[Trump] talked about the health care fight," and that "[He was] very complimentary of Tom and his efforts on health care and, moving forward, sees him as a leader in Washington."