Saturday, August 25, 2007

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

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