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CivicParent @CivicParent
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Hey all - I'm at City Council meeting right now live tweeting it. This is start of a thread. @JerseyTogether @amywilson @JCVillageMom @JosephsonJyl @leslielone22 @MeganCarolan @emilypecot @pastorlipe @kzadrogahart
Great job - real community effort including @CarleneMagurne & @amywilson helping some of our youngest take over beginning of meeting ✊️you guys rock!!!
City Council is jumping straight to Payroll Tax public comment. Lavarro asking about police presence.
Mayor Fulop will speak 1st. Public officials given preference to speak first this is normal
Lesson for the kids: everyone waits on line to speak in public comment. Senator Cunningham & Dr Lyles are behind full to speak
BTW Heads up: this first reading is @RLavarro‘s 11th hour attempt to nullify 2nd reading payroll tax. He spoke to this at caucus last night
This is @NJSenatorSBC who sponsored #PayrollTax in Trenton. NJ had 2 authorize creation of Payroll Tax b4 Jersey City’s Council could create its ordinance. A muni cannot just create its own tax, FYI.
She met with parents early on to help educate us about the Trenton law
Senator Cunningham made strong push for payroll tax. Pointed at the little kids in the audience. This is about human beings, she said.
Now Dr. Lyles is up. A dense, fact-filled statement.
“If we don’t seize this moment, we will plunge backwards”
“Over 1/3 of our buildings are over 100 years old”
Dr. Lyles’ statement is very long, very dense. I’m honestly not sure how much of her statement the Council members are going to pick up. Many, many details. @jcps_district can her statement be made public? I’d be interested in reading all of this but hard to digest on 1st hearing
FYI parents speaking: here’s the clock ... you have 5 minutes.
This is @AswMcKnight speaking in support of the #PayrollTax. She urged the council repeatedly to pass the tax.
This is @ThomasForNJ the BOE President speaking in favor of the #PayrollTax. I’m not sure if he’s planning on still suing the state. But I’m glad he’s in support of this needed tax to fund our schools & fill the massive budget gap that awaits the BOE in ‘19
This is Hudson County Freeholder Jerry Walker speaking in favor of the #PayrollTax. Called it a “no brainer”
This is @pastorlipe, BOE trustee and local pastor in Bergen Lafayette area of #JerseyCity, speaking in favor of the #PayrollTax.
This is Lincoln H.S. Principal @Chris_L_Gadsden - former City Council representative (for Ward B). Speaking about how he and @CouncilmanYun tried to convince the Council about this underfunding issue when he was on council. They were “beat down” at the time.
JCPS Teacher @Colbol64 speaking about the #PayrollTax & issues within the schools - calling for more teacher involvement in schools. @RLavarro telling her to stick to ordinance. Fiscal responsibility is the issue, she said. She’s strong advocate for the tax
Representative from McGinley Square Merchants Association - the assn’s Board voted in favor of the #PayrollTax
13-year old student from Learning Community Charter School speaking in favor of #PayrollTax, how sports are big part of her life
“This is how this is going to impact my life” - her school needs funding. Her family owns a small biz, supports tax. Way to go-a youth leader!
Community leader Michael Griffin speaking in favor of #PayrollTax. He sees students in his neighborhood, they should have a future, they need schools. I did a tax workhop with Michael - he’s such an asset to the community
PS5 Parent Gerrie Hall speaking in favor of the #PayrollTax. (I’m in line now to speak)
Amelia Verdibello speaking as MS4 AP program student. Speaking in front of this big audience at such a young age - Right on, Amelia!!
Isiah, age 12, speaking out in favor of the #PayrollTax
“People move the world and schools move people ... so schools move the world.” - RIGHT ON
McNair student speaking about conditions at her school which are abysmal. Our schools “don’t reflect a world class city”
These students are such poignant examples of why we need this local funding. very impressive to get up and speak on this in front of so many
The 1st person I’ve heard coming out against the tax. Citing options the council should look at other than payroll tax.
He’s saying “Trenton gets a pass”. Not sure what he’s referring to since Trenton over aids JC at moment.
Comparing JC to Newark a flawed premise, he’s saying. (The council has relied heavily on comparisons to Newark as template for this tax.)
Natalia Ioffe, recent BOE candidate, speaking about over crowding and under funding related issues at PS16. Lots of private parent donations at 16. Speaking in favor of #PayrollTax “against her better judgment”
McNair teacher & JCPS parent speaking in favor of #PayrollTax because the cuts that are coming absent immediate funds will be devastating - no one will stay, she says, “the developers won’t have residents to rent their $4,000 apartments to” if the schools aren’t properly funded
@MeghanHoward08 speaking in favor of the #PayrollTax. “We cannot audit ourselves out of this problem” - there aren’t enough funds, even if we were 100% efficient. This is true. We need local fair share to UP. Spot on. BTW Props to Meghan for public speaking in a Baby Bjorn
OMIGOD. Here is a PS5 student talking in favor of the #PayrollTax. He can barely see over the lecture at Robert Byrne, the clerk.
Businesses near his school should be willing to pay the payroll tax, he said, because without school they wouldn’t know how to have a business.
Here’s a better shot — Robert Byrne taking his name down. This kid is beyond adorable
Line of public speakers on #PayrollTax still about 20 deep. BOE trustee @LorenzoRichJC now speaking to City Council.
There’s a line of parents waiting to speak and I look forward to listening. These are some of staunchest advocates. Strong PTAs, teams, parent leadership.
PS 5 Parent Kevin Gosa speaking in favor of #PayrollTax. He’s a parent & small business owner.
“We have good talent when we have good schools...Big business will go where the talent is.”
“Our kids are here, our lives are here, we spend our money here.”
Kristin Hopkins from PS 5, also on executive team of PTA. PS 5 PTA is an amazing org, so impressive the way they work as a team for their school.
“Our reading specialist is vital to my son’s success.”
“We have aging buildings, leaky ceilings, and broken water fountains...”
Her son likes the teachers and his friends. He dislikes the lack of water, cockroaches.
“This city’s poor planning should not be taken out on our school children. Pass this ordinance on the 1% then let’s continue the conversation because we have a lot more work to do.” YES
McNair graduate who worked in a small business in Jersey City. Speaking to concerns of small businesses who will not be able to afford the 1% tax. She’s in support of the 1% tax, but small businesses need a reprieve.
Reading specialist & also a JCPS parent Shauna Cunningham urging Council to pass the #PayrollTax.
Her son was crying at 4:15 pickup as he’d had no water since noon time.
Numerous days the kids don’t have recess. Sit in auditorium & watch movies due to insufficient staff.
PS 5 parent advocate Nancy Pokler advocating for the #PayrollTax.
“There has been a chronic and systematic underfunding of our schools.”
“It’s time to be accountable. It’s time to stop the blame game. It’s time to give our schools the local fair share funding they deserve.”
Estella Granado, PS 5 parent who helped push for $5.3M in banked cap last spring. Speaking about how funding impacts her child. Security budget cuts, 2 main custodians retired & they haven’t been replaced. Mice, roaches. Textbook budgets cut.
PS 37 Parent & PTA President Jennie Pu speaking on behalf of Cordero #37 parents who had to leave earlier
PTA represents over 800 families
Hamilton Park is emblematic of schools getting cut out of #JerseyCity growth
Books from 1960, 1970 in #37.
Jennie just cited Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When kids don’t have water how can they learn? Great reference. Here’s a snapshot. We don’t get basics right (like H20), our kids can’t thrive.
“The families who can afford to leave will leave..Strong public schools make for strong, great communities.”
@DanLevin_inJC speaking about his two kids now in HS, have gone through lower grades. Dan’s been a staunch voice for better local fiscal management for years.
“No one is innocent in this situation that we’re in. We all knew this would happen” regardless of time on Council
“It’s time to stop winging it...”
“None of us have the answers...we have to pass the #PayrollTax and then find a solution.”
He compared JC to a drug addict who has to ween off the addiction (to aid) and then work on a long-term fix.
“We are engaged” - PS 5 parent advocating for #PayrollTax
George Fontas is now speaking. He’s from “Partnership for Jersey City” the group sending out mailers & ads against the #PayrollTax
“We agree that this Council should vote and pass this payroll tax.” This is a turnabout from the mailers.
Tonight has had some kind of impact.
The company that was telling #JerseyCity the business community would implode if the #PayrollTax would pass is now saying they are ok with the 1% payroll tax.
Here’s the adjusted ask, though: they want the sunset clause to be put back into the ordinance.
Hudson County Chamber of Commerce CEO speaking out against the #PayrollTax. “It’s just 1 penny, but on an already-stretched dollar.”
“My heart breaks tonight when I hear some of the conditions in our schools.”
“This tax should be another unfortunate decision.”
“Jersey City will be a place that is not for business, that is not open for business.” - Hudson County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO
Business interest / industry representative saying #PayrollTax will hurt small business in Jersey City.
Parent of 3 JCPS kids including Snyder HS for #PayrollTax
Leaky room required his daughter to be put in new class, where class size ballooned (facilities getting squeezed)
Lack of funds meant arts HS (Snyder) could not put on a play. “An arts high school could not put on a play.”
Snyder HS parent: Schools, and people, on the South side of #jerseyCity have born brunt for decades.
“When you get this money, equity is about giving people what they need. If you have failing schools on the south side, they need more of that money.”
PS 5 Parent & PTA President Cory Seminowicz talking about PTA work at #5. The #5 PTA is amazing. Great advocacy, strong leadership team.
Powerful testimonial about the need for school nurse. There is no full time school nurse at #5. Personal story shared with Council re: impact
Myrna Perez, PS 5 parent.
“Parents here care. Day before Thanksgiving, we’re here. We’re just getting started.”
Also: She’s a civil rights lawyer & speaking to JC’s exposure to civil rights liabilities given this school under-funding.
McNair graduate and recent Rutgers U graduate speaking of need for more information re: impact of passing or not passing it.
She supports the ordinance, but says there needs to be support for small businesses.
Evelyn Chan, PS 5 parent, advocating for the #PayrollTax.
“A vote yes is a vote for the future of our children. For all the kids of Jersey City.”
“This mom will remember that you voted ‘no’ come election time.”
WOW - Public Comment has FINALLY ENDED. This is what happens when you don’t get an idea out in public. All the public comment bottlenecked into 1 night. Whew. Parents are still here.
Council reps now get to talk. @DeniseRidleyJC (Ward A) saying she’s on Board for Marist HS. Understands concerns from business community. Not end-all, be-all solution.
She voted for the payroll tax.
Now @miramira4 talking. #PayrollTax a good 1st step. Not final step. “Energy and commitment here tonight” evident needed for next steps.
She votes for the tax
#Boggiano (Ward C) now talking. He votes yes. Says audit is important.
Councilman @CouncilmanYun (Ward D) makes point that he’s been warning this council for years abt Tax Abatements, which starve schools for funding
Now...“This is the only one tool we have [to fund the schools]”-re #PayrollTax
Talking to add’l options for future-Thoughtful remarks
@CouncilmanYun commits to BOE / JCPS / Working for our kids. To get the $ needed for public schools.
He votes yes.
@SolomonforJC mentions he’s few yrs away from sending his daughter to PS 5. Says it’s fun to be lobbied by children vs professional lobbyists. Acknowledges legit concerns re: small businesses. Commits to talk to Trenton re: small biz exemption
“We are in a crisis”
@SolomonforJC votes yes. That’s 5 votes. The ordinance passes. Other council reps can weigh in, but #PayrollTax has the votes.
@Jermaine4WardF explained many taxes a small biz owner must pay- itemized them for the public. Lottery, juke box (?), many more. He votes yes.
@JCCALDR now speaking. “Hold us accountable” - thanking the public for showing up. Votes yes.
@Pastorjoice still talking but she says she votes yes. Expressed concerns for small businesses. Says “we heard you” to the public, mostly parents, who came out and spoke.
Now @RLavarro is speaking & he’s completely off topic from #PayrollTax. Talking about student interns, assistants, etc. Not following what’s going on. But...the ordinance he opposed as recently as last night has now passed with at least 8 yes votes.
@RLavarro says referendum likely/possible. Business community (big deep pockets on waterfront) will get 7K signatures to rescind the ordinance. Then send it to referendum. He’s explaining the possible fight beyond tonight. If billionaire developers fund a referendum fight
Explaining he wanted to see if a compromise was possible vs. having referendum which is possible scenario after this vote passes. He’s explaining his failed (his word) effort to strike last min deal last night at Caucus.
BTW council chambers still pretty full. Lavarro still talking, giving some of his recent history about his legislative history.
Lavarro re: #PayrollTax:
“If you speak to the business community, they’ll say the sky is falling...it’s probably not as bad as that.”
“This was all rushed through because someone had an agenda in Trenton...”
Admits he waited too long to open up dialog re: #PayrollTax. Kudos
What are we going to do after this. Lavarro says: he hopes there isn’t a referendum. He made his pitch, it didn’t work. He’ll join the fight
Says he’ll “focus like a laser” that our public schools have resources they need
He thanked the parents who came out.
He votes yes.
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