Lautenberg tells state lawmakers to oppose higher ed merger bill

TRENTON – U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is urging state lawmakers to oppose the controversial higher education restructuring plan.

The federal lawmaker, who has been vocal in his criticism of the proposed merger, issued a statement Monday telling the Legislature to vote down the proposal, citing unanswered questions and uncertainty over the cost of the restructuring.

“This bill contains fatal flaws that threaten students already dealing with rising tuition, taxpayers, and our higher education system in New Jersey,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

“It may be good for politically connected special interests, but it’s horrible for our state,” he said. “With these problems, so many unanswered questions and an unknown price tag, the state Legislature should do the right thing and vote it down.”

Lautenberg’s statement on the proposed Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University merger came shortly before the Assembly Budget Committee plans to take up the restructuring legislation today. Committee members were in recess after delaying the committee more than two hours. Lawmakers are adding amendments to the bill before it is discussed in committee.