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New Jersey State Assembly District 25

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    Darcy Draeger

  • Aura K. Dunn

Biographical Information

What do you think is the most serious issue facing NJ and how do you propose to address it?

What on-going role do you envision for the state government in combating both the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?

What, if anything, would you do about property taxes?

Twitter @DarcyDraeger
Qualifications/Experience Professional experience in creating operational controls mandating accountability and transparency; risk management expertise.
Austerity. While debt scepticism is always warranted, as we saw in the wake of the Great Recession fiscal policy that prioritizes cost-cutting over stimulus slows recovery and creates lingering unemployment. We can’t repeat that mistake as NJ struggles to recover and build post-covid. Yet many legislators promote a cuts-only approach vs a smarter package of debt, investment, and spending. With the Fed signalling a zero rate environment for the foreseeable future, borrowing is historically cheap, giving us the ability to generate a meaningful return on investment by helping families, funding public health, and supporting small businesses. An austerity approach will harm NJ’s ability to recover quickly, and prevent us from creating the opportunity for accelerated growth next year and beyond.
We cannot have economic health without public health. Our legislators must make decisions based on scientific data and facts, and show leadership on face-coverings/adherence to safety protocols. Pandemic fatigue is a real risk. Moreover, if the past seven months have shown us anything, it’s that without public schools we can’t have a functioning economy. Their contributions to our communities go beyond academic measures, from providing security and stability to food/housing-insecure students, to creating rich social, artistic, and athletic opportunities for others. A failure to recognize this value, and to invest in public education to the broadest extent possible during this crisis, will dampen the growth and development of our state and its residents for years to come.
Our property taxes have long been among the highest in the nation, which remains a chronic economic issue for NJ. Gov. Christie’s deep cuts to property tax rebates plus cuts in school and municipal aid have meant our property tax burden continued to increase unchecked during his tenure. Under Democratic leadership, this is beginning to shift. The most direct route to relief is to increase direct aid to schools, as the school tax levy comprises an average of 55% of the total property tax level. School aid increased over $423 million in FY20, year two of the seven year phase-in to full funding. This included an additional $206.2 million in formula aid. In the recently passed FY21 budget, K-12 school aid and municipal funding was maintained despite the COVID-19 crisis.
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