Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said she wants a full investigation into the use of financial enticements to lure concert promoters to the Meadowlands, saying she doesn’t believe taxpayer money should be used in that way. At the end of the investigation, she said she believes officials will learn that “just as we had no business in horse racing, we have no business running concert promotions.”
In the second portion of a two-part interview with NJToday‘s Managing Editor Mike Schneider, Oliver also discussed issues including Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to offer treatment instead of jail to non-violent drug offenders and the school funding formula in the state.
Oliver said she agrees with Christie on the issue of treatment for non-violent drug offenders, saying those individuals need treatment instead of jail to help them. She said the cost to incarcerate a non-violent drug offender for one year is between $30,000 and $40,000 so there would be no need for a new revenue stream for the treatment. She added that such a practice wouldn’t be simply letting people out of state prisons.
On the issue of school funding, Oliver said the achievement gap between urban and suburban districts can’t be ignored. She wants fair school funding for everyone, which she said is currently not the case. According to Oliver, the “unfair balance” is one of the factors that drives up property taxes at the state level.