Wednesday, November 30, 2022

NorCo Council Tentatively Sets Aside $400,000 For Student Loans of County Workers

Yesterday, Northampton County Council began the arduous process of considering changes to Executive Lamont McClure's proposed spending plan for next year. They're not really cuts, but reallocations of money Most of these budget amendments were penned by Council member John Cusick. I'll tell you about the first change now and fill you in on the rest tomorrow. 

In the first amendment, Cusick proposes eliminating $1,147,000 from a $1.5 million loan agreement with New  England Hydropower Company for a small hydropower plant along the Delaware and Lehigh Canal at Easton's Hugh Moore Park. This project, first approved in 2018, would generate enough power for 500 homes, but the plan is to sell the energy to a local college. 

Cusick would use this money for farmland preservation, affordable housing and to help employees repay student loans. 

Cusick, who opposed this project from its inception, condemned it as "corporate welfare," and added that taxpayers "should not be venture capitalists."  He also noted that the project's overall cost has risen from $5 to $10 million.  "That's a lot of inflation in four years," he remarked. 

Council member Tara Zrinski countered that ending this project now could be a breach of contract. "This money has been allocated for several years now, the project is under way. ... We need to honor our commitment ... ."

But Cusick countered that the county still has money from other sources to fund this project. He noted there is $1 million in a fund from the American Rescue Plan Act, $1.1 million in reimbursements from the state for elections and over $1 million in gaming funds. 

Although this is still tentative, County Council voted 5-3 to move this amendment forward for the budget meeting on Thursday night. Voting yes were Cusick, John Goffredo, Tom Giovanni, John Brown and Lori Vargo Heffner. Voting No were Zrinski, Kevin Lott and Kerry Myers.

Council member Ron Heckman was absent.  
 
I'll discuss the remaining amendments tomorrow, but Cusick was quite pleased by how things went. "We voted today to allocate $400,000 for student loan relief for county employees and prospective employees. I think that's the way that it should be done. We should reward work and we should attract workers and the fact that they may have a student loan obligation that may make them not consider a job here at Northampton County is .... . Let's just say I'm real happy that we're trying to establish this program."

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

looks like another elitist grab at the expense of taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Cue the “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, shouldn’t have taken a loan out of you can’t afford it, should have gone to technical school, why do our tax dollars have to pay for this, this is communism!”, crowd…

Anonymous said...

Finally, policy that supports real working class citizens. Great job county council!

Anonymous said...

Assistance for student loans at the Federal level makes more sense. Current and futire workers pay federal income tax and loan support is a downpayyment onnfuture earnings. Spending $400k at the County level benefits few and could go towards a bi County health department.

Anonymous said...

So as a retired worked and paid my obligations and paid for my children's education now Im saddled with someone else's debt? SICK 😷🤢

Anonymous said...

Pat your own bills. You want to college and said you would pay them not me

Anonymous said...

You paid for the millions of PPP loans that were forgiven for corporations, but I don’t see any sly and classist comments directed toward them.

Anonymous said...

You paid $5000 a year for those loans boomer, get over yourself. You weren’t a victim of predatory loans that were structured to never be paid back. Once again, you’re a victim of right wing propaganda, while the lenders that get back three times the amount, do not get that same ire.

Anonymous said...

This is the problem right here with assholes like this clown. There’s a whole generation of them now. Lazy. Thinks everything should be free. Thinks he’s entitled to a middle class life because he was born sucking American air. Always a victim of someone or something. Always in a state of perpetual hysteria, yet can’t formulate facts to back up their premise that they’re victims so they just call people names. The poster above worked his whole life, saved for retirement, and paid off his loans. The clown responding, a lazy cry baby who has been raised to think he’s a victim, has no respect for that. He’s been victimized by a predatory lender blah blah blah. Probably has a 700 dollar a month car payment but doesn’t want to pay for the loans he’s responsible for. I have never seen a more entitled bunch of lazy crybabies than some of these kids coming out of college today.

Anonymous said...

I think the feds already have a loan forgiveness plan for public service employees. The real problem is the colleges who have gotten away with raising tuition at triple the rate of inflation over the last 30 years. Without addressing that issue this problem will never be solved.

Anonymous said...

The topic is help employees repay student loans. My head is literally exploding. I support and only support tuition reimbursement program for positions needed in the county only. And not retro. Each program toward a degree needed such as social worker. Nurse etc would request reimbursement prior to the class and wait for approval and have to pass the class!! But if this is indeed a pay off loan debt the insanity needs to stop! I worked hard paid my loans and do not want my tax dollars to go for old student loan debt. If they couldn't pay for it they shouldn't have done it.

Anonymous said...

I have really mixed feelings on this topic, however, always amazed when a pensioners retired in mid life and recieve lifetime medical, lectures the younger generation who had their benefits cut to pay for Cadillac retirements. Let's not mention they raised the retirement age.

Anonymous said...

Why is Norco's budget $22M higher than Lehigh's? Lehigh has 61K more people according to the 2020 census.

Anonymous said...

Leave loans to those who loaned and those who borrowed. Most of us did neither and the county shouldn't be spending our money. What other bills does Mr. Cusick suggest the county subsidize? How about my mortgage? What makes tuition debt different from that? I wonder if John is trying to get off the hook on his or a family member's loans?

Anonymous said...

Student loans are going to go towards employees getting a taxpayer education to leave that H--L HOLE. NOT MY TAX DOLLARS! Pay for your own education like most of us did.

Anonymous said...

How would this work, and how does it differ from Public Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is this intended to be a recruitment tool? I suppose I could see it working to attract more graduates if it were framed as a "sign-on" bonus so that they could actually afford to work in the public sector as entry-level employees and still be contributing members of society (and the local economy).

Anonymous said...

7:19 am: I don’t like any type of stimulus that will negatively impact people for generations to come. Many railed against the corporate bailouts, just as they have the discriminatory student loan nonsense.

10:04 am: Get your head out of your fanny and realize that “Boomer,” as you arrogantly referred to the commenter, may well have had $5,000 in student loans, but he/she was probably making a heck of a lot less than what people make today. My parents house cost less than my first new car, yet the cost of living was very different when the purchases were made. Take some of the free money to which you feel entitled and buy some books on economics.

Anonymous said...

Yo9u would rather give the money to the ballpark fat cats like the two rubber stamps want to do?

Anonymous said...

What does the county worker who was responsible and paid their debts get oh thats right nothing again. And you wonder why you cant find people for jobs. The word is out you dont pay employees what there worth!!! Pay study budgeted last year still not done! Your all pathetic!

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:18

Oh, lookie here, another reactionary “pick yourself up by your bootstraps”boomer who, once again, is looking at today’s society with a limited lens. Millennials and Gen Z are anything but lazy, but because of the inequality of wealth, brought to you mostly by corporate greed, they find themselves not able to afford being alive. They don’t want anything for free, all they want is the ability to not choose rent over feeding themselves.

And thanks to your friend Ronald Regan, who didn’t want an “educated proletariat”, he allowed colleges to charge tuition that has exponentially gone up in the last 30 years. We’re talking about tuition that was $1500 a year to attend Penn State in the 80s, to a whopping 30k plus nowadays. And todays middle class salary has not grown alongside those increases.

I encourage you research how modern day student loans are structured and how when in forbearance, the amount of the original debt grow by as much as four times! This phenomenon is not up for debate, it’s a proven misuse of the conditions of lending.

You reference the poster above as being about to “work hard” and pay off all his debt, and now living comfortably, but fail to mention that fact that everything from homes, to vehicles, and colleges were all affordable back then.

Also, do you share that same ire and rage toward corporations when they fleece our American government with PPP loans that they never have to pay back, all at the expense of tax payers? No, you don’t because it’s easier for you to pick on your fellow citizen just struggling to get by than it is to understand corporate welfare works.

If you pop your head up outside your echo-chamber, or in your case, a nuclear fallout shelter, you’d understand that we live in a country that makes it impossible for the younger generation to survive.




Anonymous said...

Why the constant comparisons between any kind of government student loan forgiveness/repayment program and the PPP initiative. Was PPP not federally enacted legislation encouraging businesses to maintain employee payrolls during a period of time in which the government shut down or severely restricted business operations for those employers? In exchange for that promise from businesses, their government loan was forgiven. The government was not and is not a direct party in a one-on-one contract between a student borrower and a monetary lending institution.

Anonymous said...

Okay Simon, calm down. Your student debt was $1000, so don’t act like you sacrificed so much to pay it off.

Today, student debt averages 20k per college graduate and exponentially grows because bad lending practices.

Anonymous said...

@10:04

Are you serious? Did they really make less money back then?

Wow, didn’t know that…

:/

Anonymous said...

In the perfect world, where you believe you live in, these PPP loans were not used to pay employee salaries but instead used to bolster CEO compensation, while still laying off employees and making a profit to satisfy Wall Street expectations.

All in all, guess who pays for these billions of dollars in forgiven PPP loans?

You guessed it, the taxpayers.

So instead of throwing money away at corporate greed, why not use that money instead to help citizens pay off student debt, thus allowing them to use their salary for other expenses that might boost the overall economy.

Makes fiscal sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm not that old but would like to retire at some point and using my tax dollars federal and local to pay college loans I'm sorry that is simply insane. We are growing a new breed of American that feels entitled to people paying off their loans go after the colleges if you like and hold them accountable to a reasonable tuition but don't ask us all to pay for others college. I've paid school taxes my entire life but never had a child and was ok with that. We need well educated children. But this is over the top. Perhaps the unions would like to pay off some loans of their members. Good use of union dues not tax dollars