GOP calls for reforming special aid program

Republican legislators are once again assailing the Local Finance Board and the way that body allocates state monies, after its members moved unanimously to provide the City of Newark with an additional $45 million of emergency aid last week.

“It is astounding that the state can find the money to allocate to a city that already receives more than its fair share of state aid while it squeezes rural municipalities to pay for its police coverage and slashes property tax relief,” said Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose in a statement, who represents Trenton mayor and part-time Hunterdon County resident Douglas H. Palmer in the Assembly.

The Special Municipal Aid program, under which several economically-distressed municipalities receive additional state aid each year, has been the repeated target of Republican attacks of late.

The GOP legislators claim the program, administered by the Local Finance Board in the Department of Community Affairs, operates in a rather unaccountable manner, without published criteria for selecting cities and without, until recently, a uniform application for municipalities seeking extra aid.

According to the office of Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24, the City of Newark received over $1 billion in state and municipal aid this year, and has received over $8 billion in aid over the last decade.

Sen. Oroho plans on introducing legislation to “impose oversight and accountability” in the program.

“This program has operated under the radar, without accountability, criteria, application standards or even an application form for far too long,” said Sen. Oroho, in a statement. “The bill I will introduce in September and the proposed resolution, SR-61 will help to prevent these abuses in the future.”

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One response to “GOP calls for reforming special aid program

  1. westwrdguy57

    Wow, that is amazing. $45 million..and that’s only in additional aid. Maybe that’s due to the fact that close to 27% of the people in Newark live below the poverty level. I bet though they have received more than their share of school assistance, which by the way has increased in NJ by 29% since just 2005. Newark is about the largets drain on the state budget and has been increasingly so since the late 1960’s. And the population is falling off at that. There has been a decline of 57,000 residents since 1980. The pop. now is around 270,000.

    Overall in NJ, expenditures continue to grow at alarming rates. For a little history, total state expenditures have grown from under $1 billion in the late 60’s to about $34 billion today. In 1955the total amounted to about a $250 million dollars. That kinda money is like chump change today. I think I recall there was actually a surplus of fund once or twice in NJ.

    I wonder how many mayors live in 2 different Assembly districts. For any mayor, I would think the best arrangement, at least if they cared for their constituents, would be everyone represented by the same legislators. The people around here may become a bit confused if Palmer claims our rep now in the Assembly is some Republican, named Allison Littell. Then he just may have to correct himself, you know, to make it look like he knows who she really is.

    Despite Newark’s many problems the crime rate is still lower than here in Tretnon. The FBI data there shows a fairly decent decline for each of past 8 years, while ours has not come close..only to Newark’s former higher rates.

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