CCSNJ Support of S3488
TO: Members of the New Jersey Senate
FROM: Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs CCSNJ
RE: Support of S-3488 (Sweeney/Gopal/O'Scanlon)
DATE: December 2, 2021
The Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to respectfully request your support for S-3488 (Sweeney/Gopal/O'Scanlon), which modifies certain procedures pertaining to school district regionalization, establishes a grant program for cost reimbursement of conducting regionalization feasibility studies, and provides financial incentives for regionalization.
As written, the bill creates a grant program within the Division of Local Government Services in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) to provide for the reimbursement of costs associated with conducting feasibility studies that support the creation of plans to form or expand regional school districts. Additionally, the bill requires the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to reimburse participating districts for any costs associated with holding an election to establish a regional school district, which stems from the aforementioned feasibility study.
The CCSNJ is strongly supportive of any measure that works to identify a solution to the overall affordability crisis in the state. As we noted in our FY2022 state budget testimony, encouraging the creation of K-12 regional and countywide school districts will assist in alleviating the high property tax burden while improving efficiency of within New Jersey school districts. Additionally, consolidating services in New Jersey’s 565 municipalities is another measure that the CCSNJ has historically been supportive of, which will lead to tremendous cost savings and streamlined municipal services for taxpayers. The CCSNJ encourages the Legislature to take up this measure as well in the future.
It is well-known that New Jersey has a true affordability crisis with the highest property taxes in the nation. Due to the state’s high cost of living, New Jersey is losing wealth, which is moving out of state to more tax-friendly locations, while also losing the future of the state’s workforce.
Addressing the affordability crisis with innovative reforms such as this is precisely what the business community and residents need following the devastating impact of the pandemic.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to vote yes on S-3488 (Sweeney/Gopal/O'Scanlon).