Gov. Phil Murphy is at it again, attempting to throw more money at problems.
The governor’s latest plan is to spend money he borrowed from the federal government to create a $1,000 savings bond for some qualifying infants born next year.
Both Republican and Democrat state lawmakers have criticized the idea, according to news reports, citing the state’s budget shortfall constraints caused by the governor’s emergency coronavirus executive orders.
“Today is exactly the time for bold ideas — ideas whose impacts down the road will be much greater than the modest investment that we make today,” the governor said, according to nj.com. “Today is exactly the time for bold ideas that will allow the next generation of New Jerseyans to grow up with something of value to their name and something that can give them a head start.”
But did Murphy’s administration ever stop to ask parents what they need?
News flash: It’s affordable childcare.
A real bold plan would have recommended a deadline for school districts to implement a universal pre-kindergarten program for three and four-year-olds.
Low income parents in New Jersey can’t save money for their children’s future when they’re spending thousands of dollars on childcare. Parents with children under five-years-old would see their financial burdens reduced dramatically with a universal pre-kindergarten program. These parents, in particular, are essentially being double-taxed. They’re paying property taxes which do not go toward their children’s education and then must spend thousands of dollars on private daycare.
Unfortunately, New Jersey’s property taxes are consistently among the highest in the nation year after year. Perhaps that would be better justified if the government offered extra services compared to other low-taxed states.
The governor’s baby bonds plan is not bold; it’s out of touch.