Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bullshit, Lies, and Hypocrisy from Steve Fulop

Steve Fulop has finally spoken on state aid and what he has said is complete bullshit, saying state aid redistribution is:

“clearly an attack on poorer, primarily African American, Latino and minority districts,” Fulop said, claiming that a change would shift funding into primarily white school districts in the suburbs.

And that any claim that Jersey City can pay substantially more than $116 million towards its public schools (which is 19% of their budget)

"only takes into account the affluent waterfront section of the [Jersey City] and ignores primarily minority portions of the Jersey City that are significantly less well off."

From the point of view of taxes and state aid, it is irrelevant if only one section of Jersey City is thriving because Jersey City IS A SINGLE ENTITY FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF TAXES.

Even if only 15% of Jersey City's residences are worth more than $1 million, they would comprise approximately half of the residential valuation, with other high-value properties filling in the great large majority.

On top of that, Jersey City has above average amounts of commercial and industrial property.   Whereas the average town in New Jersey is 84% residential in valuation, Jersey City is only 62% residential.  Although officially Jersey City's property is "only" 25.3% commercial, it has billions of dollars in off-the-books PILOTed property that is disproportionally commercial.  (see "Property Type Extremes")

Jersey City's taxes are only the 16th highest.
If Jersey City had an up-to-date property valuation, Jersey City's low-income sections would pay a tiny portion of its school taxes.

Moreover, most towns in New Jersey have no $1 million residences at all and don't have any section that can be called "booming."  Jersey City alone is alone responsible for 10% of the increase in New Jersey's total Equalized Valuation.  From 2015 to 2016 alone, Jersey City's Equalized Valuation rose by $4 billion - from $21.7 billion to $25.7 billion.

Also, property values in many other parts of Jersey City are outperforming the state average.  Fulop's own $850,000 townhouse is in the Heights, not the waterfront anyway.

Fulop even says redistribution is wrong because it would hurt "minority districts":

“It is clearly an attack on poorer, primarily African American, Latino and minority districts,” Fulop said, claiming that a change would shift funding into primarily white school districts in the suburbs.

Fulop also said redistribution would help the suburbs "at the expense of the most needy children."  He warned that Newark would lose money, but that is a lie based on out-of-date information because Newark is now actually underaided by $90 million.

This is blatantly, blatantly, blatantly wrong.  Fulop is a liar.

First of all, many of the districts who would lose state aid are heavily white rural towns and Jersey Shore districts.  Pemberton is New Jersey's second most overaided district, with a $25.8 million excess and it is majority white.  

Second of all, the towns who would gain the most state aid are heavily Latino.  Dover is 82% Latino. Lakewood is 80% Latino.  Red Bank Boro is 77% Latino.  Fairview is 75% Latino.  Freehold Boro is 74% Latino.  All would gain millions if SFRA were fairly funded.

Even "money is everything" advocate Bruce Baker, when he took a break from his anti-charter school screeds, acknowledged that New Jersey's most underaided districts have very high Latino populations.  

All of those districts are severely underaided and would gain, so this is no "attack" on primarily poorer, African-American, Latino, and minority districts."

Fulop claimed also that Jersey City should not lose state aid because 70% of the students in the public schools are FRL-eligible.  That is true about the percentage, but what it ignores is that SFRA already gives out a $5,000 per student bonus for FRL-eligible students and Jersey City has proportionally very few students.  Whereas the average town in New Jersey has 17% of its population enrolled in the public schools, in Jersey City it is 11%.

Finally, any appeal to identity politics where Fulop bases his objection to the fact that Latinos and blacks in Jersey City might end up paying higher school taxes is staggeringly hypocritical of Fulop because Fulop himself spent years opposing a desperately-needed property tax reval and strenuously fought against a property tax reval which would have lightened the tax burden on Jersey City's Latino and black sections.  Jersey City's last tax reval was done in 1988, so Jersey City was literally a city "where poor blacks subsidized rich whites."

So, if anyone is looking at who is opposing state aid reform, as I have repeatedly said, the most powerful opponent is Steve Fulop.  

If you are wondering why Vincent Prieto OPPOSES state aid redistribution despite representing the most severely underfunded legislative district in New Jersey, it's about his relationship with Steve Fulop.


1 comment:

  1. Brilliant analysis, and keep up the good work. The mayor is talking out of both sides of his mouth, as usual.