New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says a panel of tax experts and lawmakers will make recommendations this summer to make some major changes in state government policies.
Sweeny says the group has been considering more than 50 ideas.
“One of the ideas was, and this was actually talked about under Governor Corzine, eliminate k- to-6 districts and k-to-8 districts and only have k-to-12 districts. Because that’s where the kids go to high school at the end of the day. And you would go from 600 school districts to I think 320.”
Sweeney says another consideration is reducing health care benefits for public workers.
“We have about a billion dollars in ratable growth a year and 900 million of it this year went to pension and health care. Next year it’ll be more than that and it’s consuming the entire budget. So we need reforms.”
The group is also studying whether towns with less than 5,000 people should be required to merge and whether certain infrastructure assets should be dedicated to the pension system.
Sweeney says the changes will be extremely difficult, but he believes they need to be done.