PLAINSBORO: School board should address the burden of property taxes

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Todd Hochman, Plainsboro
My name is Todd Hochman. I previously served on the West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education from 2009–2012 and have decided to run again. As a former board member, I always spoke my mind, never hesitated to question the status quo, and voted “no” on measures when it was warranted. No one ever accused me of being a “rubber stamper.”
I fought against high taxes and was one of the first board members in a long time to vote against a budget. Political correctness was not my concern and I ruffled a number of feathers. Ultimately, I won the respect of my fellow board members.
Our property tax burden is a huge problem. The problem is exacerbated when the board approves contractual settlements with compensation increases in excess of 2 percent. With limited exceptions, the State of New Jersey caps property tax increases at the 2 percent number. In light of the property tax cap, contractual settlements in excess of 2 percent force the district to make program cuts. This cannot continue and is hurting our students.
But even with the 2 percent state cap, our property tax burden continues to be too high. Just because the board can legally raise taxes 2 percent does not mean it should. Lives suffer when people can’t afford to pay their property taxes. Apartment dwellers pay increased rent because of the property tax burden faced by their landlords. The board needs to be fiscally prudent, understand the property tax burden, and do something to address it.
Should the voters of Plainsboro elect me to a second term on the board, I will continue to fight against tax increases and fight to ease the property tax burden faced by our residents. I stand for quality education, but at a price we can afford. 
Todd Hochman 
Plainsboro 