War Against Seniors

Aug 02, 2017

To the Editor:

The war against Ocean County seniors continues. Under a new school funding proposal by Democrat state Senate President Steve Sweeney and Democrat Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Ocean County schools would see a decrease in state funding totaling almost $6.8 million. This would amount to a loss in revenue of 2 percent to both Little Egg Harbor and the Pinelands Regional school systems at a time when the area is still reeling from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy with the loss of ratables and the highest tax increase in its history. So much for their fairness program.

“These cuts would be catastrophic, affecting essential programs and staff,” stated Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

To make matters worst for Little Egg’s five senior communities, the state budgets for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 set the following qualifications for the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program. Applicants were eligible only if their total income was $70,000 or less (the original limit was $87,007). Eligible applicants whose income was over $70,000 but was $87,007 or less will not receive a reimbursement for the third consecutive year.

There’s more “good” news – a couple of bond issues are about to hit the tax rolls: the Pinelands school $53.6 million bond referendum and the township’s latest $1,705 million general improvements bond.

Many New Jerseyans age 65 and over struggle to make ends meet. Living costs are high, especially for housing and health care. In the face of rising expenses, some elders receive at most a modest cost of living adjustment each year; thus, they are spending down retirement savings and/or face growing debt. At the same time, older people strain to be prepared for the present but face a challenging future if their life circumstances change due to illness, loss of a spouse or partner, and/or growing needs for help with daily expenses.

As the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” – equal, that is, unless you are a senior residing in Ocean County. Where is the outrage?

Art Mooney

Little Egg Harbor


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