Fanwood Councilman Robert Manduca (R) weighs-in on his decision to oppose the borough's resolution regarding family planning funds.
Scotch Plains Fanwood Patch
Once you look beyond the lofty rhetoric, the resolution potentially takes $75 million dollars in taxes payers' funds and funnels it to a private special interest advocacy group with little or no accountability. That's right, no accountability. Planned Parenthood of New Jersey isn't even current with its legally mandated IRS filings. Why are we supposed to trust them with our money? In the Town of Fanwood we don't even let a company do tree work for the Shade Tree Commission if they're behind on tax filings. Why the special treatment for Planned Parenthood? While the Assemblywoman repeatedly promises "strict audits by the state," there is no rational basis to believe this is happening. There is no public record of the Corzine, Codey or McGreevey administrations ever auditing Planned Parenthood. One outside organization that has taken a look at Planned Parenthood's books, the Government Accounting Office (GAO), in a report dated May 28, 2010, documents millions of dollars in taxpayer funds that are either missing or unaccounted for. The U.S. Inspector General, a legal entity charged with preventing Medicaid fraud has demanded $2.9 million in funds be returned because New Jersey Planned Parenthood wrongly billed unqualified services as Family Planning Services. Unfortunately, bookkeeping irregularities and public statements by a former Planned Parenthood Director about misusing Family Planning funds for abortions doesn't seem to bother Assemblywomen Stender. I ask the reader, would you give $7.5 million dollars to an organization that had just cost you an additional $2.9 million for misusing the last funds you gave them? I submit not if it was your own money. I personally think taxpayer's funds should be treated with the same respect.
A false impression is created when the good assemblywoman repeatedly states, "We get $9 back for every $1 we spend." The "we" she is talking about is not the citizens of New Jersey. Planned Parenthood gets our $1 of spending and they also get an additional $9 from Medicaid, too. The New Jersey taxpayer doesn't get squat. It is telling that she uses "We" to refer to herself and an advocacy group rather than the citizens she was elected to represent.
The real math is even worse, as both the Star Ledger and AP report, the State of New Jersey was forced to repay many of those $9 for $1 Medicaid "bonuses" she touts. Because N.J. Planned Parenthood improperly billed claims, every $1 we gave Planned Parenthood in the past cost New Jersey taxpayers an extra $9! That's the 2010 reality, you decide if a -$9 multiplier is a great deal for the taxpayers. In addition, ask yourself, If Planned Parenthood was being strictly audited as Stender repeatedly claims, don' t you think they would have picked up on millions of dollars in bogus billing?
Many similar misleading statements were made during the assemblywomen's hour-long presentation. This is the second time in six months the mayor has given Linda Stender free reign to politic for tax increases during what should be meetings devoted to the town's business. Which is another reason why the reader can know this is all about politics and not women's health. Fanwood is one of the only suburban towns in the state to pass such a resolution. We can reasonably assume women live in other towns too. They just don't have vested political and financial interest in these taxpayer's funds.
Here's a reality check. The Obama Administration, just completed a top down overhaul of our nation's healthcare system. During the year-long national discussion of Obamacare did you once hear any expert, just once point to N.J. Planned Parenthood and say "They have a great way to deliver healthcare to the needy, lets copy the New Jersey model?" No, I'm sorry not once. That's because this is an inefficient, politically corrupt way of delivering redundant healthcare benefits.
I am sure Planned Parenthood does some good things. There are plenty of good works and causes in this world. However, good causes are not a license to tax us out of our homes. I personally donate my time and treasure to Raphael's Life House in Elizabeth, where poor women and children receive free medical care, prenatal care, prescriptions, etc. I would encourage anyone who is truly pro women's health to support their work. They provide these services without costing taxpayers a dime and amazingly do so without having to give Michele Jaker a 5th fulltime job. http://www.raphaelslifehouse.org/
This is America, if Assemblywomen Stender is passionate about her beliefs, as an ardent pro-abortion advocate, she can support Planned Parenthood by devoting her own time and treasure to it. That's the American way. She raised well over 7.5 million dollars for her unsuccessful congressional campaigns, I'm sure she could persuade the same "friends" to fund Planned Parenthood. That is if it was really important to her. You see everyone, even the Assemblywomen, sets priorities. If she does not think it's worth her time to raise the money, why should we fund her political advocacy out of our scarce tax dollars? We have schools, police and other funding priorities. I'm glad the Governor and fiscally responsible members of our legislature agree.