Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Jersey Shell Game

We have the honor of having the highest taxes in the nation, and after 5 years of Democratic control we can in all probability add the most in taxes to that list, also.

We have a governor who promised tax relief to the citizens of New Jersey. We are still waiting, most of us do not want tax relief, what the voters are looking for is tax reform.

Even with a 1.2 billion dollar tax hike, we are selling our assets to cover the mounting debt still accruing. The sale of the NJ Turnpike would generate state tax revenues and cut property taxes, but without cutting state spending, it would also leave New Jersey with a bigger hole once the one-time revenues run out. Not to mention that the voters of this state, who use the NJ turnpike, will have their tolls increased over 100% due to “monetization”. In the end, the state receives a temporary stay of execution, but again it is the citizen’s who will pay.

If we do not resolve the issues that got us into this state of affairs to start with, we have accomplished nothing. If we wind up where we must start selling state assets to remain solvent, we have embarked on a dangerous path. By placing the citizen’s of New Jersey on that path, our legislators have failed in protecting us. By asking the voters to sacrifice once more, you have again lessened their quality of life due to the mismanagement and squandering of tax money.

We still do not have a school funding plan in place. The citizens’ would like to reduce the reliance of property taxes that funds our public schools, and would like reform to our state taxation formula. Failing school budgets can be attributed to the growing tax burden placed on families. The state’s inability to fully implement CEIFA (school funding law), and the lack of extraordinary aide funding for special education have caused severe hardships for many school districts.

The promise last year to the taxpayers of New Jersey was that a new aid formula was a top priority and a year later, the old formula is still in effect, with the burden still in the backyard of property owners. The reality is Trenton Democrats, by ignoring the problem, and doing nothing has allowed the continuation of an unfair formula, resulting in increased property taxes. While self-funded rebate checks were received, property tax bills also increased. So in essence we paid for our rebate, had our property taxes increased and gave back the rebate we just received. Which shell is the pea under?

In the mean time we have had the time to name state dirt, sift threw the pork barrel for Christmas tree items, name a state vegetable, attempt to ban aluminum baseball bats, put NJ into a college logo, and create a voter lottery.

We are being asked to vote in blind faith and plans are forthcoming after the election.

It is time to stop turning a blind eye to what affects the pockets of the voters of New Jersey.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what it is we are voting for first, before we put the same policy makers back in office?

We need an effective school funding formula, we need to make the necessary cuts and stop spending so we do not have to sell our assets. The fact is, to conquer New Jersey’s soaring property tax dilemma, we need practical and efficient solutions now, not later.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
Assembly Candidate

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