The Republican candidates for 12th-district office yesterday laid out a three-point plan to curtail state spending, which they say is driving residents out of New Jersey, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

Led state Assemblywoman and state Senate candidate Jennifer Beck of Red Bank, the trio made a stop at Riverview Gardens Park. Beck is running with Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande of Marlboro. They’ll face incumbent Sen. Ellen Karcher, Assemblyman Mike Panter of Shrewsbury and Assembly hopeful Amy Mallet of Fair Haven.

Beck, O’Scanlon and Casagrande are running as reformers.

From the Press:

The GOP plans consists of capping state spending to a half percent above the rate of inflation, plowing the difference between that and state revenues — assuming a growth rate of 5 percent — into tax relief and cutting spending.

The GOP trio wants funding reforms for the state’s 31 poorer school districts, for which state-funded education reform and assistance must be provided under the 1990 Abbott vs Burke court decision. Their proposal provides a spending level of $14,000 per child, as opposed to the current high of $21,000 per child in Camden. Beck noted the state average school spending is $10,000 per pupil.

The difference would be distributed to non-Abbott school districts in aid for property tax reduction.

Savings would be returned to taxpayers through a credit on their property tax bill, O’Scanlon said, which would save about $10 million in administration costs for the current rebate program.

“Our tax plan caps state spending, going forward, unlike the hypocrites in Trenton, who tout caps placed on municipal governments of 3 to 4 percent and sign on to 10 percent increases in state spending,”O’Scanlon said.

Beck rapped Karcher and Panter for going along with Democratic leaders by refusing to consider $2.5 billion in GOP proposed spending cuts. Her cuts would include eliminating state jobs of 2,000 political appointees, cuts to New Jersey Network, axing 10 percent from administration of Abbott school districts and reducing the fleet of state vehicles.

Karcher and Panter said they’ve lobbied for some of those things.

“Much of their plan mirrors things Karcher and I have talked about, such as eliminating state pension abuses and reducing spending,” Panter said. “Their other statements are better suited to bumper stickers. I agree with spending cuts, but that needs to be backed with specific recommendations that hold up to closer inspection.”

While eliminating 2,000 state jobs sounds great in theory, Panter said the GOP candidates should name specific positions.

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