There are more opinions in New Jersey than proposals for dealing with our soaring property taxes. People will differ on the proper formula for state pensions, class size or the ratio of police officers to the local population. What no one can dispute is Chris Christie’s proposal to get more people involved in the decision making.
It’s a poor commentary on our time that so few voters participate in local referenda and school board elections but it is a reality. Families work multiple jobs and the pressure of everyday life is mounting. Transient families might be less connected to communities. It’s all a formula that allows a minority to control decisions that impact everybody.
Governor Christie is right in proposing that School Board and other local elections be moved to the November ballot. Special elections, School Board elections and referenda are an invitation for dominance by an interested minority. Teachers will understandably always vote in elections that impact them. Police officers or other public employees are no different. I don’t blame them and I understand their interest. It just isn’t good governance.
Moving all of these elections to the November ballot will guarantee broader participation and a more robust local debate. Issues of taxation impact the ability of people to keep their homes. Education expenditures influence the quality of life for children. This is one Christie proposal that should get everybody’s support.