Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hillary, a Legend in Her Own Mind

Wow! Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to handle a terrorist attack. I feel a lot safer knowing that she will be there taking care of us.

“But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again.”

Is she saying the Democrats are weak on terror, and complimented Republicans as the ones who can keep us safe should a terror attack happen?

Having a presidential candidate sink to the bottom of the La Brea tar pits and come up with a statement such as that to get attention. Does it really matter which party is at the helm should an attack occur?

I don’t know what qualifies Hillary as having the strength and experience, other than her statement that she is good at handling the unexpected. Aren’t the majority of us good at that?

In April, she told The Washington Post that terrorism “shouldn't be a Democratic fight or a Republican fight”, and in 2005 she told the Albany-Times board that the Bush administration had used the war on terror as a "political tool" to frighten Americans into submission. The Hillary administration would never use fear as a means to win.

It was an asinine, unpatriotic statement. Probably just as stupid as John Kerry’s regrettably infamous remark "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Hillary goes on to say she is the best of the Democrats, already she is a legend in her own mind. I don’t believe the best of the Democrats would have made such an idiotic statement.

You may say this is a national issue, but which state on a national level would be unlucky enough in Hillary’s world to prove her point? What if, what if . . .

I wouldn’t wish for a terrorist attack no matter who was in charge. I for one don’t want to find out who does a better job in handling an attack, I would rather know who is better at preventing it.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Pencil Monetization is Next

It is extremely disheartening to hear constant reports that Governor Corzine intends to propose selling or leasing the State’s main thoroughfares including the New Jersey Turnpike after the November elections. Equally as disheartening is the failure of incumbent legislators to speak out against such a poorly conceived concept. If I am fortunate enough to be elected to represent the 18th legislative district in the State Senate, I will adamantly oppose any proposal to sell or lease any state roadway or other state asset. My opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono, as well as the entire legislature and all candidates for legislative seats in the 2007 race should join me in pledging that they too will oppose any such patchwork solutions to the real problems plaguing New Jersey.

Putting the State’s main corridors of interstate and intrastate commerce in the hands of a third party puts every resident of this state in danger of unfettered toll increases and presents a strong likelihood that the maintenance of the roads and the safety of our residents will be sacrificed. Nobody is giving away money. Thus, a buyer would need to substantially increase tolls and defer road maintenance solely to make back their investment. This would leave the New Jersey taxpayers at the mercy of an unelected and unaccountable owner of our roadways.

This isn’t a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is a safety issue and a common sense issue. Our legislature has a responsibility to stop looking for the quick fix and to find real solutions. The Turnpike today; the Parkway tomorrow; and then the lottery. What next - the pencils in the state house?

With the Democrat controlled legislature having increased the State’s debt by $21.3 billion over the past five years in which it has been in control and amid a recent report from the New York Times that the State’s pension fund indebtedness could be as high as ten (10) times more than the State previously represented, I am calling on my opponent to join me in speaking out against flash in the pan solutions to a long term problem.

We need to begin to live within our means. You don’t need to have been in the legislature for 13 years or to have been the former head of Goldman Sachs to know that selling our roadways (or borrowing against the tolls generated on those roadways (a/k/a/ asset monetization)) is a gimmick and puts off for tomorrow the tough choices that we must make to bring financial responsibility to our state. The only way we’re going to truly get a long term and sustainable handle on reducing our indebtedness and be able to give people real property tax relief is by reducing spending. The average citizen of this state knows that if you spend too much such that you can’t pay your rent – you don’t sell your car to pay your rent. If you do, you can’t get to work tomorrow. The taxpayers know that they are required to live within their budget, and its time that our elected officials learned from the citizens of this state.

Dan Brown
Republican Candidate for State Senate
18th Legislative District

Interview with the NJEA

At the request of the NJEA I had an interview several weeks ago, in an attempt to gain their endorsement.

In speaking to the panel I had said that more and more, many of your school budgets are being voted down. It is not because people do not want to see a better education for their children; they are running out of extra pocket money. The neighborhoods that were 30, 40 and even 50 years old, that supported the school systems are disappearing. Our seniors cannot afford to pay the increased taxes on their homes and must sell; our children cannot afford a down payment on a home in the neighborhoods they grew up in. Our neighborhoods are changing, and the support system for our schools that was once there, is eroding.

New Jersey becomes less affordable for low-income and young families trying to gain a foothold in our communities, as well as for seniors who are rich in property, but cash poor as property taxes continue to increase. That’s one aspect in the leveling of population growth, as people seek more affordable areas. New Jersey schools account for over 55 percent of all property taxes, and when you have people living from paycheck to paycheck, a $200 increase is a lot of money. The state is reaching a pinnacle, where government will have to choose between paying even higher property taxes and drastically cutting education, services or both.

I would like to say that I believe every retiree, and those near retirement should receive every penny that was promised to them. The teachers union has sued the state for failing to make pension payments, and rightfully so. Any state employee who bargained in good faith and diligently contributed to their pension fund should receive what is due to them. The fault lies with the politicians in New Jersey who failed to deposit those contributions into a system already lacking in funds. Politicians who took pension funds to make up for the shortfalls in other areas, and for failing to live up to its bargaining agreement. If that were to happen in the private sector it would be considered fraud.

The only way politicians will be able to get more money to fund this under funded pension is again by increasing taxes, even though we already have the highest property taxes in the country. The ones that will be stuck with paying for this increase are the taxpayers.

We desperately need a new school funding formula, which should have happened but won’t be addressed until after the November elections. Consolidating our school districts from 615 to 250, reducing administrative costs would free up money that is already there, that would be injected back into the education system. I also believe if NCLB cannot be fully funded the penalties placed on our school districts must be relaxed. It is unreasonable to expect full compliance from school districts that are financially unable to meet federal mandate goals, which place additional burdens on our communities. By under-funding the NCLB, community and state taxes will continue to rise to meet the federal demands.

One reason I did not receive the endorsement of the NJEA is that I had suggested that they contribute a small portion of their income, based on a salary tier towards their pensions, until it reaches what would be considered a reasonable wage. At that point they should be able to afford to fund their own benefits. I stated they could not continue to ask the general public to repeatedly fully fund pensions, when many are already being taxed to the max.

If anyone should propose that teachers unions switch to a defined contribution plan, they then protest that the legislature is unfair to teachers. The pressures from the teachers unions on our politicians know the system is failing; yet they still demand increased benefits.

I also said to the board that I may not receive the endorsement of the NJEA because of my position on this, but I cannot win on a principle I do not endorse.

Which is why my opponents received the endorsement of the NJEA, I am sure they agreed to everything the NJEA wanted.

At least they will receive the votes of the NJEA, even at the cost of higher property taxes to the citizens’ of New Jersey.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Concert in the Bay?

The Concerts by the Bay in Perth Amboy may end up in the bay if the Garden State Symphonic Band does not receive funding in the very near future.

The Concerts by the Bay depends on banks, business, industries and individuals to help pay through donations, in presenting the shows to the public.

The managing director had said that the concerts could no longer rely on the city for funding because governments also are strapped for cash. He also went on further to say that the problem with funding may be a sign that the concerts are not as important to the city as they had been.

One reason may be that the state of New Jersey has placed so many taxes on New Jersey business, government raising the minimum wage, taking more money out of the taxpayers pockets, business and individuals need what they have left to pay their own bills. I have always said when people have less disposable income it will create a greater hardship on the economy.

When the state cuts back on funding, when municipalities now have to come up with a means to fund their own local governments, it has a ripple effect. It may take awhile to take effect, but when you raise the sales tax, raise the municipal tax, increase budgets the taxpayers run out of what I call ‘giveaway money’. What ever is left in their pockets they will use to pay their bills, and enjoy a night out on occasion.

Placing more restrictions on small business, more taxes, mandating what they have to pay their employees means less profit and less money to spend.

Even if it is scaled back to having less than 10 concerts, if the money is not there, it does not matter how many concerts you have, where are you going to get it?

The director said he plans to ask the city for funds, if he does, is it a loan? It was previously stated governments are strapped for cash. How does a town find $10,000 to give to a concert and then explain to the taxpayers why they just raised their taxes?

I do not believe it is because people don’t want to have a concert, but cash is getting to be a tight commodity these days. Any program based on donations, may have to face the fact that if the cash flow stops going to those who provide the funds you are going to be the last one to receive charity. Charity starts at home first.

The season was to end with the patriotic song "Stars and Stripes Forever." Possibly, another reason is not that the concerts are not as important to the city as they had been, there just are not enough patriots left with enough money to pay and listen to it.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A State for Sale

New Jersey is for sale, going to the highest bidder.

Right now, it is the New Jersey Turnpike, next it will be the Garden State Parkway, and who knows possibly NJ government itself.

We need to ask ourselves, “why, as a state we are selling off our assets?”

Is it because of the pork barrel spending, is it because of nepotism, and is it because of mismanagement and misappropriation of our money? Is it because ethics in New Jersey is at such a high level?

Does it really matter whose fault it is? At what point do we stop placing the blame on why or who caused us to get here? When will the finger-pointing stop and government take responsibility for their own actions?

In a business environment, you are hired to fix the existing problems, not to point fingers at the last person who created the situation. If that were the case, the last person would still be there.

Government needs to take a step back and take a serious look at how our money is spent and where it is going.

If we cannot manage the money we already have, how would generating new taxes help? The raising of taxes must stop. Either we find a different tax formula to pay for what we already have, or take what we already have, set priorities and redistribute it differently.

Some ingenious ways we have come up with to deal with the many issues facing our state:

Removing the front license plates from New Jersey vehicles . . . this would possibly save enough money to pay for the cost of manufacturing the back plates.

Jumping into the pork barrel and grabbing a $100,000 for the Arts Council . . . this would help many generate more sales tax revenue from all the ticket sales.

Naming of state dirt . . . Downers Soil will help give us a better appreciation of our farms.

The banning of aluminum bats, naming the tomato as a state vegetable, asking a state college to spend their money updating their logo with the letters NJ, after cutting millions from their budget . . . will go a long way in helping many families and students with tuition costs.

Excess lottery money was to be used in a bill for a voter drawing? By going to vote you would have a chance to win a million dollars. If we are going to touch the excess lottery funds, would it not be put to better use towards a student tuition program? Alternatively, a State College showing outstanding Academic Achievement might qualify for extra funds.

I suggest raising the tolls on the Parkway and Turnpike for a few years until we generate enough revenue to put us back in the black. Then drop the tolls back to where they were before the increase, or adjusted to the rate of inflation. However, we all know that in New Jersey once an increase in instituted, it will never go down. New Jersey government will figure out a way to spend it.

We had to shut the state down because we had no spending plan? How about coming up with a Savings Plan? To ask our legislature to go into session for weeks on end to come up with a new tax program, then shut the state down, and then tell everyone to go home because as a governor I have a better idea was a waste of time, energy.

Since 2002, it has been on financial crisis after another, because those in power refuse to address the real problems. After sending 45, 000 state workers home, closing state government for a week, $1.8 billion in tax increases, implementing a one percent sales tax increase, millions in lost revenue we are no closer to a balanced budget than before we started.

When we cannot agree on what is best for the welfare of our citizens, when we no longer care about common sense, we as a state and as a people lose.

Government is supposed to be there for the general welfare of the people, not to consistently take money out of their pockets.

We are at sea in a sinking ship, our citizens are treading water to stay afloat, and now New Jersey government wants their life jackets.

Incomes have not risen to keep pace with inflation, yet New Jersey government keeps taking money from the very people that are struggling everyday to make ends meet.

Taking money from the businesses that employ our citizens slows down growth.

Property taxes, affordable housing, education, eminent domain, loss of jobs and homes, are the real issues the people are facing. Giving the people an opportunity for an affordable place to live, not having to worry if their homes will be taken, the security of knowing their jobs will not be leaving the state, letting them keep a larger share of their income, education of their children are the real issues.

If New Jersey were a business, we could not sell it with all the debt we have. As a business, we would be bankrupt.

Going once, going twice! Sold to the highest bidder; who will be deemed the person or persons nominated as the buyer or buyers . . . unless there is someone else offering more.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Friday, August 17, 2007

Property Tax Reform

Property-tax reform should be Trenton's top priority, but it won't happen until after the November elections. By then, our legislators may not have to deal with it.

Thanks to five consecutive years of mismanagement, $6 billion in new state taxes, $10 billion in increased spending and $37.5 billion in new debt, New Jersey is now unaffordable for many poor and middle-income families. New Jersey homeowners' property-tax bills have risen on average 35 percent over the past five years.

The raising of the sales tax to 7 percent is not going to bring down the state deficit; in actuality, it will raise it.

Less disposable income means less money going into an already strained economy.

Let's not kid ourselves and jump for joy when we receive those rebate checks this year. This year's rebate checks are being paid for by last year's 1 cent (17 percent) sales tax increase. In essence you're getting back your money already paid to the state in sales tax.

Without some major budget cuts, or in the absence of a new tax-funding formula, taxes will be increased again next year. This year's rebate, ladies and gentlemen, is a one-time deal; we will not have a repeat performance.

The selling of the New Jersey Turnpike (monetization — turning government debt into money — a fancy word for privatization) is a short-term solution to an ongoing problem. If the reasons we got to this point are not alleviated, our legislators have done nothing for the taxpayers of New Jersey.

To sustain and keep this sleight of hand in play, taxes will have to be increased again the following year. We need to rid ourselves of government waste, frivolous spending, fiscal abuses and dual officeholding. Those are the tough choices; the easy choice is to raise taxes.

In November, by voting yes to use the sales-tax increase toward property-tax relief, you will be putting an end to the issue of property-tax reform. Trenton is counting on us to vote yes. There is no concrete plan in place as to how the money collected will be allocated. The best way would be to have a plan in place first, so we would know how the money would be disbursed; then ask us to vote yes. We are being asked to give our money for something we can't see. Without a plan as to how this money will be dedicated, who will get the relief and what areas will receive it?

Our current tax plan is just not working; it needs to be reworked from the ground up. There is no easy solution, but to ask taxpayers to vote yes to put the balance of the sales-tax increase toward tax relief is again the easy way out. It will buy our legislators at least another 10 years in office, and they won't have to deal with it.

New Jersey needs true property-tax reform, not using one tax to pay for another. The taxpayers need a guarantee that any funds collected toward property-tax relief will not be used to plug another hole somewhere else in the budget.

Without a guarantee, the people of New Jersey will be asked again to dig deeper in the very near future.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

Thursday, August 16, 2007


In running for Congress last year my stand was no to amnesty. The following is what I posted on my website:We are losing control of both northern and southern borders. We will eventually lose the right of self government as our future will be determined by citizens of other countries.

With well over 11.000.000 illegal aliens in the US, with more crossing our borders everyday the potential to control our own laws of society will be seriously undermined. Illegal immigration takes jobs away from minorities and those without higher education. Illegal immigration burdens our society with added education costs, the overcrowding of our schools, taxpayer-funded unreimbursed medical outlays for health care, also adding to the shortage of low income housing, and added increase in crime.

We must enforce our laws that were put in place to protect us as a nation, not create new ones. Eliminating the added costs of public services provided to illegal aliens, will more than pay for the cost of enforcement.

Anyone who is not here by invitation, must be required to leave. It is time to enforce our existing policies on immigration. I am opposed to illegal immigration and I will not support any amnesty program. I will work toward securing our borders and ending the influx of illegal migration into the United States.

“Until we bring our own house in order, until we decide how we are to continue funding Social Security, fund education, lower taxes; provide affordable health care and housing, for the legal citizens of this country, my stance is no to amnesty. We cannot afford to continue to raise taxes, provide programs and services with the sweat off the backs of legal citizens, to provide care for those who shouldn’t be here.”
– Joe Sinagra

As an assembly candidate this year I do not believe we are indebted as a state to absorb and assimilate illegal aliens into our society just because they are here.

Why is it that although it is illegal, if you can manage to sneak into this country you have now earned the right to remain here? I have no objection to those that leave and wish to reenter our country through the proper channels. I also believe that once you receive your citizenship, you are no longer an immigrant, you are an American.

Mr. Corzine, until recently has evaded the issue of illegal immigration. Contrary to what you may read or hear over 80% of the voters want our border secured and our existing immigration laws enforced.

When a country begins to have its future determined by citizens of other countries who manage to move in illegally, we lose our heritage, our values and cease to be a community as we know it. We are no longer self-governed, as others will determine our fate.

Immigrants with low education levels will continue to be a fiscal drain on citizens. Half of all adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. have less than a high school education.

If we were to have granted amnesty and let the millions of illegals already here become citizens, they would now have the right to bring their parents, spouses and minor children to live in the U.S. The long-term cost of government benefits to the parents of 10 million recipients of amnesty could run up to $30 billion per year or more. Their spouses and children would receive government services and now also have the right to become citizens.

Low–income households are provided with cash, non-cash, and social service assistance. Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, public housing, the earned income credit, and Medicaid, are provided to individuals and families. Those who do not qualify for Medicaid receive Charity Care.

The longer illegal families remain in the US receiving welfare benefits, the longer they will continue to remain on it as it becomes a way of life.

Since when did it become a right for an illegal to remain in the United States, and no longer it is considered a privilege?

Illegal aliens harbor diseases that American medicine fought and conquered long ago, such as tuberculosis,malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease.

Most illegal aliens do not have health insurance and need to resort to public assistance.
Free medical care has closed many of New Jersey’s finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies. St. Peter’s in New Brunswick had recently laid off 58 employees and has closed over 200 hiring positions. Many of our hospitals are required to accept Charity Care.

In the past decade, 17 New Jersey hospitals have also closed their doors, more than half of the state’s hospitals are losing money and three hospitals have filed for bankruptcy in the past year.
Uninsured people receive medical care in hospital emergency departments (EDs) under the coercive Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 (EMTALA), which obligates hospitals to treat the uninsured but does not pay for that care.

Just 10 million illegal immigrants residing in America, make up nearly 25 percent of the uninsured.

We are also not immune from crime due to the influx of illegal immigration.

The following is from
Statistics point to significantly higher crime rates in the illegal immigrant population. Document forgery, identity theft, and illegal use of stolen Social Security Numbers are nearly universal among illegals. But consider this data regarding hard crime: In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

Illegals kill 9,000 people annually. According to US Representative Steve King (R-IA), illegal aliens commit 12 murders every day in the U.S. and kill another 13 daily through drunk driving incidents. That’s more than 9,000 people killed every year by illegal aliens.

As World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah points out, that means more people are murdered by illegal aliens in one year than have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since their inception.
Rep. King also notes that on average eight children are sexually abused by illegal aliens every day — that’s over 2,920 annually. That’s just a small portion of the illegal alien crime wave, over
4.1 million crimes are committed by illegal aliens.

Each year tens of thousands of violent crimes are committed against our children by predatory aliens who should never have been allowed to enter or stay in our country. Many illegal aliens come here with an anti-American attitude.

Except for breaking immigration laws, most illegal aliens are law abiding; however, there is a significant percentage of illegal aliens who have no respect for the rule of law and our legal customs.

New Jersey spends more than $2.1 billion annually on public expenditures for education, medical care, and incarceration for the estimated 372,000 illegal aliens residing in the state.

Our laws are not broken; we need to provide the manpower to enforce the laws already on the books. Our borders must be secured. We need to stop the influx of illegal immigration first before we can deal with those who are already here illegally.

Immigration itself is not the problem, illegal immigration is.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate