As students throughout the county receive their final grades for the year, Atlantic County Republican Chairman, Keith Davis, issued Senator Jim Whelan a report card of his own.

Davis graded Whelan on his first six months in office in the areas of supporting municipal planning, wasteful government spending and borrowing, protecting working families, curtailing voter fraud and beach replenishment. Unfortunately for the Senator his grades weren?t nearly as good as our students receiving report cards this month.

Whelan?s Report Card

Municipal Planning D-
Borrowing & Spending F
Protecting Working Families D
Eliminating Voter Fraud D+
Beach Replenishment C-

Davis criticized Whelan for approving this year?s state budget that slashed municipal aid, hospital funding, property tax rebates, and higher education funding by more than $600 million, and then just days later voted to borrow another $3.9 billion without first obtaining voter approval.

As if that wasn?t bad enough, even after internal state audits documented $90 million in wasteful spending and estimate that 25% of what the Abbott districts currently receive in state aid is either unnecessary or ends up being wasted, Whelan still favors increasing the funding to these districts. Whelan has also refused to take action when it comes to cracking down on the hundreds of patronage and no-show jobs in state government.

Davis also took Whelan to task for voting in favor of a series of so-called pension reform measures that failed to get to the heart of pension reform. Davis said, ?If the Senator was truly concerned about protecting working families then he would introduce legislation to crack down on those political appointees who abuse the pension system and stop picking on the lunch ladies and bus drivers of Atlantic County who can barely make ends meet.?

When it came to giving Atlantic County?s municipalities the tools they need to plan for the future, Whelan didn?t do any better. Not only did Senator Whelan cut municipal aid for every municipality in his district but one, which translates into higher property taxes, but he also voted to ban regional contribution agreements between municipalities. These agreements help towns — particularly Hamilton, Galloway and Egg Harbor Townships — meet their affordable housing obligations by allowing other communities to accept housing development in exchange for a payment to an affordable housing fund. ?In addition, many of our shore communities are already fully developed and simply do not have land available to build dozens of low and moderate income housing units,? said Davis.

Davis also said Whelan has not done enough when it comes to curtailing the potential for voter fraud. ?Abuse of the absentee ballot has been a problem for many, many elections here in Atlantic County. We certainly could have used some help from Senator Whelan to adopt standards that will ensure that all of our votes are fairly counted,? said Davis. ?Unfortunately the Senator has once again failed to deliver and instead has made the problem worse by voting for a ?vote by mail? bill which makes it easier for city political bosses to abuse the absentee ballot system. Instead he should have pushed to amend the bill with tougher standards to eliminate the potential for fraud.?

Finally, Senator Whelan voted to raid the state?s beach replenishment fund for unrelated purposes in a ?one shot? budget gimmick.

Davis did offer Whelan some advice, ?With grades like these, Senator Whelan should seriously consider summer school or at least repeat a year in the Assembly.?


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