Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not only have we lost jobs, we have lost the Freedom of choice

As many as 24 million people would still remain uninsured in 2019; many of them otherwise eligible Americans who still can't afford the premiums. Over 60% of the American public was opposed to the new health plan, but it the Democrats had to push it through because it was all about change. The only change I see is in voting every one of them out. This plan will cost more and not save you a penny.

The new plan will phase in little by little, over the next three to four years. Ultimately all Americans will be mandated to carry coverage or face a tax penalty, except in cases of financial hardship. Insurers won't be able to deny coverage to people with health problems, or charge them more or cut them off. A family of four with annual income between $22,000 and $66,000 would face a fine ranging from $750 to $1,500 a year if they failed to buy health insurance. For families earning more than $66,000, the fine could be as steep as $3,800. Provisions of the bill cause the government to take two-thirds of any additional income of a family with a modest income of $54,000.

As a poor family earns more income, their subsidy is reduced, and the cut in the subsidy falls faster than the rise in the family’s income until the family’s income has risen to the point where it no longer qualifies for a subsidy.

A higher pay check means higher Federal income taxes. A family earning $54,000 a year is in a 25 per cent marginal tax bracket. 25 per cent of the addition $12,000 means $3,000 in extra Federal income tax.

Now, over time this family has increased earnings of $12,000, means higher Social Security and Medicare contributions of 7.65 per cent (actually, double this figure, since the employee pays the employers share in the form of lower wages, not considered here). This amounts to a deduction of another $918 from the $12,000 pay raise. So far, the government has taxed $6,718 out of the $12,000 raise.

Given all these deductions for taxes and fees, the actual amount of additional purchasing power to the example family from a $12,000 raise in pay is only about $4,000, or one-third of the supposed increase their increase in income.

Under the legislation those who now will have the most trouble finding and keeping coverage: people who buy their own insurance or work for small businesses.

Some people's taxes would go up.

Buying into Medicare won't be cheap, about $7,600 a year not counting out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and copayments.

A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation’s $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won’t shrink under the Democratic proposal that senators just passed. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress did nothing. Something the Democrats just happened to leave out while the snake oil was being pushed to the public.

Also troubling was the report’s assessment that the Democrats’ plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years in savings relies on specific policy changes that “may be unrealistic” and could lead to cuts in services.

The report somberly warned that a new long-term care insurance plan included in the legislation could “face a significant risk of failure” because it would attract people in poor health, leading to higher and higher premiums, and eventually triggering an “insurance death spiral.”

"Health-care reform cannot be considered successful if it makes coverage more expensive," said Scott P. Serota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association president and CEO.

The “individual responsibility” provision in Section 1501 (pages 320-340) would require anyone who fails to obtain a qualifying health plan – with a benefit package to be defined later by bureaucrats – to pay an annual tax penalty of $750 per adult family member and $375 per child, with a maximum penalty of $2,250 per family. These penalties will be phased in from 2014 to 2016 and then indexed for inflation, which means they are likely to increase nearly every year. These taxes are fixed amounts based on family size, not income.

The rich will not pay more, and the middle class will not pay less (although the poor may qualify for exemptions). This is even worse than the House bill, which imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income above the minimum income necessary to file a tax return. A family of at least two adults and two children is actually worse off under the Senate bill if they make less than $99,350 a year and worse off under the House bill if they make more. The only nod to affordability is a “hardship exemption” if the lowest available premium for a bare-bones plan is more than 8 percent of your income. But that saves you money only if your income is less than $28,125 a year.

Companies with more than 50 employees are required to offer qualified health plans, to their full-time employees or pay a tax of $750 per full-time employee. That’s a lot cheaper than providing health insurance, and the $750 is just a tax – it doesn’t count towards the employee’s premium.

However, an employer who does offer qualifying insurance isn’t off the hook. Suppose an employer offers insurance, but has an employee from a low-income family who qualifies for a premium subsidy in the “health insurance exchange” and decides to accept it. In that case, the employer is stuck with a tax penalty of $3,000 for that employee, and every other employee who qualifies and makes that same choice – unless it’s more than a quarter of the employees, in which case the tax is capped at $750 times the total number of full-time employees. (Workers will be permitted to opt out of their employer’s plan only if they qualify for a subsidy, have insurance through another family member, or if the employer covers less than 60 percent of their premium.)

In other words, if a company has a lot of low-income workers, they can save money by dropping their health plan and just paying the $750 per-employee tax. (And they can make as many employees as possible part-time.) However, if they have mostly middle-income workers, they face a heavy penalty — $3,000 – every time they hire a worker from a low-income family. This goes by the employee’s family income, not the income the employee is paid by any particular company. So a company could save $3,000 by hiring, say, someone with a working spouse or a teenager with working parents, rather than a single mother with three children.

Even worse, if at least a quarter of the employees qualify for a premium subsidy based on their income and family size, the company is going to end up paying the same $750 per-employee tax – whether they offer insurance or not! So companies with a lot of low-income employees will essentially be encouraged to drop their health plans entire, dumping the remaining higher-income employees into the federal exchange at their own expense.

Employers will have a strong tax incentive to lay off the workers who need the jobs most – people without other sources of income.

New taxes and fees imposed on businesses will "discourage companies from hiring or continuing to employ low-income and moderate-income workers. Small-business owners who do not generate enough revenue to pay their workers' wages in addition to the new taxes and fees would be forced to lay off their lowest-paid employees to comply with the law. So in essence the next person in line would be the next lowest-paid employee?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated, "By holding down the growth of national saving and real capital accumulation, the prospective increase in the budget deficit will place at risk future living standards of our country." And according to the Congressional Budget Office, "Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress income growth in the United States. Over time, the accumulation of debt would seriously harm the economy.”

As prospective cuts to Medicare Advantage are made, writes Michael D. Tanner of Cato, "many insurers are expected to stop participating in the program, while others will probably increase the premiums they charge seniors." The Congressional Budget Office agrees, saying that cuts to Medicare Advantage "could lead many plans to limit the benefits they offer, raise their premiums, or withdraw from the program," devastating seniors' health care options.

A number of proposals will assume steep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. It would cut payments to doctors by 25 percent in 2011, with even steeper cuts later, the Wall Street Journal says these cuts "will cause many doctors to quit the program."

Medicare patients already have difficulty finding doctors, especially in some markets, would be exacerbated as the number of doctors willing to treat Medicare patients will shrink at the very time the number of Medicare recipients is increasing (due to the retirement of baby boomers, and other factors).

The new Health Plan will erode your privacy by expanding the IRS and mandating that insurers, employers and government agencies share with one another your personal financial information. They will have the authority at some point to invade you savings or checking to determine whether you can afford health care or not.

The National Federation of Independent Business estimates that mandating that employers provide health care will cost an additional 1.6 million jobs by 2013.

Unemployment is at a 25 year high, yet the White House and Congress continue to ignore the ruinous cost health care reform legislation will have on small business.

It is small businesses that drive our economy. This bill will not only kill jobs, it will prevent job growth and expansion.

We can look towards higher insurance premiums, more and higher taxes, fewer jobs, lower wages, a reduced standard of living and an erosion of privacy and individual liberty.

This is a bill about control and nothing else. We are now being mandated by our government to carry healthcare or be penalized if we don’t.

This is a sickening abuse of governmental power and a violation of every American's right to decide what is best for themselves and his or her family.

We as Americans have lost another freedom, the freedom of choice.

How much longer before we lose our right to vote?

~ Joe Sinagra

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Regrets and Thank You

First and foremost, I would like to thank the voters of the 18th District who showed their tremendous support in wanting to change the course of New Jersey legislature, and for not believing in the negative, malicious attacks against me. I firmly believe it is the voters of this state who come first; I do not take their concerns lightly, nor take their votes for granted.

Thanks to my family for their patience in putting up with endless hours of campaign talk, phone calls, posters, flyers, the literature strewn about the house, friends for their support and the people of the district who cast their vote in my run for state office. Congratulations to the winners and my congratulations to those who weren’t so fortunate in their bid for holding office. I congratulate them as well for trying as they did not lose, a loser is one who never tries, and trying is the only way you will ever win.

My running mate Bob Jones, for working tirelessly non-stop in his door to door efforts, and my thanks to one of the best campaign teams I have had since entering the political arena. The volunteers who spent hours each day campaigning for candidates they believed in, I cannot thank you enough. It is because of your efforts and dedication, that we came as close as we did.

By coming so close to winning, I believe the voters of this district and throughout the state, regardless of party affiliation are tired of politics as usual and have spoken. Voters who are tired of corruption, high taxes, unfulfilled promises, and citizens looking for government they can believe in, government that will represent them.

My only regret is that I will not have the opportunity to represent those who believed I could make a difference.

Who knows what the future may hold, until then I believe we are well on our way to a better New Jersey and a brighter future.

Joe Sinagra

2009 18th District NJ Assembly Candidate

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conservative Majority New Jersey Assembly Endorsements: 18th Legislative District

CWA-NJ Executive Committee | 29 October

18th Legislative District
We have added one more late Assembly endorsement to the list of challengers, (and may still have one last one later today). This endorsement is from the 18th Legislative District where Conservative Majority New Jersey has endorsed Joe Sinagra for Assembly.

If anyone can face a strong challenge that is in front of him and overcome it, it is Joe Sinagra. An Air Force veteran during the Vietnam War, a husband, father and a good man, there needs to be more Joe Sinagra’s serving in Public Office.

Joe has received endorsements for this race from the New Jersey Right to Life, the NRA with a AQ rating, and PENPAK Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ).

Please join us in supporting Joe Sinagra’s campaign for the Office of Assembly in the 18th Legislative District.

Please visit Joe’s website to find out how you could help by donating or volunteering.

Jones, Sinagra will fight for lower taxes

I find it appalling that our current assemblymen Patrick Diegnan and Peter Barnes would resort to sending out mailers with so many untruths.

Marching in lockstep with Corzine, they voted for every increase the governor asked for. The voting record is on the web; I didn't have to look very hard. They would rather sling mud than to talk about your record of voting "yes" to $9 billion in tax increases, cutting school funding, increasing municipal taxes, and penalizing small business owners throughout New Jersey.

Joe Sinagra and Bob Jones have stuck to the issues; you have not and have thrown the first stone. Mr. Diegnan and Mr. Barnes deliberately sent out mailers through the Democratic Party attacking two standup gentlemen to steer us away from their own voting records.

Anyone who has followed Joe Sinagra, his letters, and campaigns would know these mailers are nothing but propaganda to try and sway the voters. Mr. Sinagra has been fighting for lower taxes since 2002, has been an advocate for the taxpayers of this state, had stuck up for the seniors and veterans. His letters in regards to taxes have always been in favor of the voters, not government, and he has been endorsed twice by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. Mr. Sinagra is a bi-partisan candidate who can work with both parties, as he is for the people first and not business as usual in Trenton.

Bob Jones was a member of the South Plainfield Board of Education and has numerous awards through several organizations, and was endorsed by the Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, among many other respectable organizations.

Having been to several Tea Parties, and very active politically in New Jersey, I can tell you, Bob Jones and Joe Sinagra have no intent to increase taxes. Bob and Joe both have ideas for bringing jobs back into the state.

Personally, I would like to know why my taxes have risen so high, why has it become so costly to live in this state, why is our state unemployment so high, why education costs are being cut, why was our state funding cut?

This has all happened while the Barnes and Diegnan have been in office. Rather than answer those questions, they would rather confuse the voters with nonsense. They'd rather become re-elected through deceit, smoke and mirrors, only to elevate our taxes once more.

It's time to shake up the Trenton political attitude. You cannot continue continue to replenish the state's pockets at my expense. Household incomes are shrinking; looking at mine, let me ask you a question Mr. Barnes and Mr. Diegnan: "What have you done for me lately? "

S. B.

East Brunswick

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trough Candidate wins Home News endorsement again

Despite the fact Assemblyman Barnes first act after winning the assembly seat in 2007 was to appropriate $100,000 to the entire budget of the Edison Symphony Orchestra in a year when we supposedly had no money and raised the sales tax 1% to help property taxes, has voted to raise taxes 115 times since then, voted yes for $9 billion dollars (along with Patrick Diegnan) in tax increases, received an “F” rating with the NFIB, he still managed to receive the Home News Editorial Endorsement.

One of the editors wanted to know why we don’t mandate private business to raise their salaries. My response to Mr. Racz, was if we have business moving out of state because they can’t afford to stay in New Jersey, how would you then mandate they raise their salaries, and expect them to return? And, how would you mandate this? I also pointed out that many minorities and uneducated have higher unemployment levels, and are being displaced because of the current job market, and mandating higher salaries from the private sector would only make it worse. Is this the next wave of liberal thinking, to try and mandate the salaries of private business? There is a reason it is called free enterprise.

I ran for Congress, knowing full well my chance of upsetting the Congressional seat was slim, but nevertheless I ran a hard campaign, again on limited funds against a well entrenched establishment. Politickernj had said that I received only 2% less votes than Buster Soaries, who in a better year spent over $1 million. One editor from the Courier News actually jumped out of his seat and pointed his finger at me calling me prejudice and walked out of the room for my stating of the facts on illegal immigration when I ran for Congress. It could be this same editor still holds a grudge as he was partial to favoring my opponent.

I had made some comments regarding Corzine at that same Review Board, having told them why someone would vote for this man for governor, when he won’t tell us his tax plans until after he is elected. The next day it was as if I wrote their Editorial Opinion page, it was printed almost verbatim, as witnessed by my running mate that year. As it turned out, the governor came out with his infamous asset monetization plan two months after he took office.

What I find ironic is that I received the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey endorsement (CIANJ) from a panel of New Jersey businessmen. An endorsement I received because of my vision and plans on bringing business and jobs back into the state, and ways to place people back in the job market. An endorsement I place much more regard in, than that of an Editorial Review Board, an endorsement that is not given lightly by the business community.

The editorial failed to mention that I missed winning the last go around by less than 6%, with little money, and being outspent 20 to 1. I don’t put much faith in the Editorial Boards Opinion as it is only their opinion, what I find disturbing is how they go out of their way to make personal comments.

With that said, I would like to congratulate my running mate Bob Jones for his receiving the honors this year. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to campaign with. Bob is also concerned about the high taxes in this state, coupled with a sputtering economy. His insight to cutting costs if elected would be an asset to the voters in this state.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calling all jobs, where are you?

New Jersey should put an ad in the careers section of the paper for “JOBS WANTED.” At the current rate of unemployment we have more people out of work than job creation. We know Jon Corzines claim of creating 13,000 jobs was a farce, since we lost 12,000 jobs last month.

I have received the Commerce and Industry Endorsement due to my plan and views on bringing business back to this state. We need to focus jobs, industry; careers to jump start this economy and bring back companies that left, while enticing new start-up companies to build in New Jersey. We need to eliminate the corporate tax, penalties, and regulations that hinder business from growing and expanding.

Chris Christie "renewable energy initiative" is a plan to make New Jersey more attractive to industry by making our state business-friendly and actively seeking out renewable energy manufactures. Bringing the next generation of industry and better paying jobs for the middle class. Offering tax credits and eliminating costly and time-consuming “use variances” or zoning changes for solar energy construction.

To have a true end to a recession, you need a strong economy. Without a growing job market, we can only expect more lost incomes, foreclosures, less spending, less savings, and more families leaving the state.

Corzine and our assembly are the cause of the State’s current dilemma, contrary to what they want you to believe. They want to run for reelection to fix this state? The Democrats have had since 2002 to prove themselves, and have failed miserably.

We need representatives that will put the people first, something the taxpayers of this state currently do not have.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Assemblymen Diegan and Barnes Sink to a New Low

These two Assemblymen are grasping for votes, their numbers are sinking and are putting out mailers that are blatant lies, misrepresentation, and non-factual, in an effort to regain their footing. They can't run on their record of voting YES of increasing you're taxes to $9 billion, so they have resorted to mudslinging.

Dear Mr. Diegnan and Mr. Barnes:

You recently sent a campaign mailer into the 18th District accusing me of being a tax cheat. A mailer, which for all intents and purposes, is designed to put in the minds of the voters that while they are struggling to pay their taxes, I do not pay mine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Allow me to set the record straight:

My oldest son had a plumbing business under which I was the principal of the corporation.

Although I never received any funds or checks from the business - and drew no salary - ultimately as the corporation I was responsible for the business. As my son’s business base closed up, his bills became greater.

My son, in efforts to save his business, started out by laying off his help, closing his office and moving it into his home, hoping that the business would regain momentum. When it became evident this was not going to happen, he finally closed up shop.

In your recent mail piece, you state that I did not pay my State and Federal taxes. Get your facts straight - it was not a failure to pay taxes, but rather a lien against my son's business and the corporation. The liens - every penny of them - were satisfied several years ago.

Having lost one son through an accident in the Marines, my wife and I made a promise to do whatever we could to help our remaining son and daughter. I do not know of any responsible , loving parent who would not go out of their way to help their children get ahead, or help them if they were in trouble.

My son was in trouble with paying the back taxes and we paid them for him.

I did not run away from my responsibilities as a parent, or a businessman. I confronted the situation head on and did what was necessary to pay off this debt.

This is the same representation I will give the taxpayers if I am elected to office. I will not run or evade the hard issues we face ahead.

As our sitting Assemblymen, you should both be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. This desperate attack on me and my family shows the lengths you will go to keep your current seats; obviously you will resort to anything. You have crossed the line - attacking not only me, but my family.

Knowing what it is to lose a beloved son, I have no regrets. I would do it again for my family. . . even at the risk of another smear tactic such as this one.
Joe Sinagra

Joe Sinagra, Sr.
18th District Assembly Candidate

Sunday, September 20, 2009

NJ Taxes are out of Control, Hurting Business and Citizens

New Jersey foreclosures are rising due to the State Court backlog of filings, county filings will rise as New Jersey join’s the worst states in the nation for distressed properties.

In mid-August, state court officials acknowledged that the paperwork delays had made it look like New Jersey foreclosures declined in the first half of the year. After processing the backlog, foreclosures did not drop off, they actually increased 30 percent. As the New Jersey backlog catches up with its filings, New Jersey will be near the top as one of the nation’s leaders for foreclosures.

The average median household income in New Jersey dropped $7,214 between 2006 and 2008. The percentage of New Jersey residents below the federal poverty level is 9.2 percent and growing. The economy remains so poor that despite the claim of 13,000 new jobs created by Governor Corzine, the people of New Jersey still lost over 12,000 jobs since June, and another 47,000 are due to run out of unemployment benefits by December 2009. Under Corzine’s watch unemployment has increased more than double from 4.8% to 9.7% during his term.

The new jobs created don’t even come close to paying the salaries and benefits of those jobs that vanished. One in 20 people currently employed will lose their job in a matter of months, teenagers, minorities, and less-educated workers are losing their jobs to more educated willing to work for less money. African American unemployment has risen to 13.6%, and Hispanic unemployment in the state has risen to 11.5%, above the state average of 9.7%. Even if indicators point to a weakening of the recession, it will take several years for families who lost their homes and income to realize it is over, probably never again achieving past levels.

What these figures show is that New Jerseyans are losing their jobs and homes due to the failed policies instituted by the Corzine administration, carried on from the previous administration. Those who are supposed to represent us, instead of making the tough choices to create a state of affordability for our families and business, are creating more financial hardships for those trying to stay afloat.

Corzine broke his promise to cut property taxes by 40% over 4 years. His 2010 budget has cut Tax Relief for Middle Class Families and irrefutably increased property taxes another 20% since he was sworn in.

Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan and Peter Barnes are part of the Corzine partisan clone administration, going along with those same disastrous policies. They did not stand up against any of Corzine’s tax increases; their answer to solve New Jersey’s bad fiscal management was to raise our taxes to fill in the void left by over 200,000 lost jobs.

Through the combined efforts of both Assemblymen, they both voted to increase taxes for the citizens of New Jersey and the 18th district by over $10 billion dollars, even in the face of a deteriorating economy. When they exclaim they are representing the people of the district, their voting record belies that fact.

They voted in favor of a $400 million payroll tax hike, eliminating $100 million in property tax deductions, an increase of $68.9 million in Real Estate Commission Fees, and $903 million in favor of an increased income tax.

On top of that to add insult to injury, as if the outrageous Realty Transfer Tax isn’t already high enough, Diegnan and Barnes voted to increase this tax by $62 million on the state level, and another $22 million on the county level. Let’s not forget the $8 million tax on your lottery winnings, just on the upshot you may actually win enough get you back on your feet.

Governor, I wouldn’t classify the current state of affairs as real progress for New Jersey.

For eight years the people of New Jersey have seen their property taxes increase over 55%, their tax dollars wasted, jobs leaving our state and their property tax relief eliminated, and it still isn’t enough. Jon Corzine and a Democratic controlled State Assembly have given us the highest property taxes in the nation. Perhaps we need an appointed committee to review outdated taxes, or purge old tax laws. Tax upon tax, bill upon bill, regulation over regulation is not conducive to New Jersey’s economy and the current numbers bear this out.

It appears that it is all about defending the interests of extravagant spending and refilling the state purses, than about protecting families, their homes and their jobs. Clearly statistics show raising taxes is not the answer.

The Governor’s answer is for everyone to pack up and move to North Dakota is pure arrogance, for the majority of citizens in this state that is not an option.

We have an upside down economy with unemployment growing faster than job creation, jobs and business are crucial to our economy. New Jersey needs bring back industry, employment and allow small business to grow in this state. Without jobs, unemployment will rise along with foreclosures.

Trenton needs to assess the immediate problem by bringing business back into the state, not by chasing them out.

Raising taxes may help fill the state nooks and crannies, but does nothing to assist those on the edge of having nothing, or those who are already there.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diegnan Joins Corzine in a Negative Smear Campaign

Assemblyman Can't Stand on the Issues So He Resorts to Mudslinging

SOUTH PLAINFIELD- District 18 Assembly candidates Joe Sinagra and Bob Jones today responded to the negative telephone "push poll" being conducted by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield).

Assembly candidate Bob Jones, a member of the South Plainfield Board of Education, responded that, "Like Jon Corzine, Patrick Diegnan can't run a campaign on his record because his past 7 years in Trenton have consisted of votes for higher taxes and a cloud of ethical controversies. Diegnan has sunk to a new low by assailing 18 year-old high school students in his latest mudslinging attack."

Assembly candidate Joe Sinagra, the former Helmetta Council President, added, "Patrick Diegnan has to launch a negative smear campaign because he wants to hide from his record of raising taxes by $8.32 billion while in Trenton. Like Governor Corzine, Diegnan doesn't want voters to know that he has forced over 200,000 jobs out of New Jersey and raised property taxes almost 20 percent."

The American Association of Political Consultants considers "push polling" to be an activity that "corrupts or degrades the practice of political campaigning."

Both Sinagra and Jones are calling for Diegnan to apologize to the students of South Plainfield High School and are calling on his running mate, Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III (D-Edison), to denounce push polling in the spirit of an issue-oriented campaign.

Sinagra and Jones are running a grassroots campaign in the Middlesex-based 18th Legislative District, which includes East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Metuchen, South Plainfield, South River, and Spotswood.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care, another Clunker program?

I agree with Dana Perino of Fox News.

Now that the Democrats control every office in Washington, the obligation is theirs to enthuse and lead on key reforms they want to pass. Yet they seem to get so offended when someone wants to know how the legislation will affect them and their families.

If they want to get support, there are some questions that need answering. People want to know how the bill will change their personal health care coverage, how much will it really cost, how are we going to pay for this program, and what the benefits will be for them.

The Congressional Budget Office put forth that the House bill will cost over $1 trillion dollars for the first ten years, that it will only cover a fraction of the uninsured, and that taxes are likely to be raised across the board.

Of course when the CBO puts out a message like that, Americans are going to start to have questions, they start packing town hall meetings, calling their Congressman, are more interested in the debates, and asking more questions.

The problem is the Democrats can’t answer questions to their own plan, and when questioned on it they become irate and start blaming someone else. First it was Republicans against reform, next it was Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, when that didn’t work they started blaming journalists, now the blame is on the insurance companies.

The ironic part of this is that the Democrats talked about the affordability and accessibility of health insurance in New Jersey. They appropriated millions of additional dollars to provide health insurance to low and moderate income state residents through the Family Care program. At the same time they imposed new taxes on health insurance providers, the cost of which is being passed on to policyholders, making insurance even less affordable.

You can’t sell Health Care reform if you haven’t read the bill.

Look at the bill, and then ask your representative to explain it. The majority of people like their healthcare, they do not want higher taxes to pay for this proposal.

If the sales representative can’t sell a product they know nothing about it and can’t give you a straight answer, how can you intelligently respond to those who want answers? In the rush to get this bill out to mainstream America, the only one you can target is the one who came up with the marketing plan in the first place.

Also how long is it going to take to get the health insurance companies their payments? Government can't even pay car dealers for the clunker program in a timely manner because of all the beauracratic red tape, and the American public is supposed to accept the fact, that their health coverage is in good hands?

Remember the Yugo?

Joe Sinagra
18th District Assembly Candidate

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can NJ afford four more years of bad news?

New Jersey's unemployment rate rose to 9.3% in August, the highest it has been in the last 25 years.

While New Jersey gained 13,000 private sector jobs last month, the first job growth in the state in 17 months, the economy remains so poor that another 7,100 people lost their jobs. New Jersey lost another 3,100 jobs in June.

Corzine is trying to spin the 13,000 increase in jobs as if he had something to do with it. His latest email states “13,000 private sector jobs were added last month because of our business-friendly policies.” Say what? He extended the 4% corporate tax surcharge, raised taxes 25 % on liquor, and picked Weinberg as his LG.

By picking Loretta Weinberg as his Lieutenant Governor he has made the Democratic Ticket even more anti-Taxpayer than it ever was. Weinberg has voted for every tax increase that ex-Governor Jim McGreevey wished for and every tax increase that Jon Corzine proposed. She has been a rubber stamp for tax increases the whole time she has been in the legislature and she will continue to be the poster girl for higher taxes while in the Governor’s office. Weinberg was never interested in cutting government expenditures or standing up to government unions; instead she has consistently supported ever increasing government.

With the passing of a $29 billion budget it increased taxes by almost $1 billion, eliminated property-tax deductions for the wealthiest residents and shaved billions from health care, higher education and other programs.

When New Jersey Treasurer David Rousseau was asked the question “In your observation, do you feel New Jerseyans are overtaxed?” Rousseau incredulously answered “No.”

Under Corzine, New Jersey’s state/local tax-burden percentage has gone from the third-highest in the country to the highest in the country.

Even before the recession Corzine condoned the state’s wasteful spending, the union pandering, giving public employees benefits the taxpayers can’t afford and refusing to take the necessary steps to end the hidden tax of public corruption. All part of his campaign which he promised to put an end to.

These tax increases have destroyed New Jersey’s economic and business environment, driven thousands of residents and businesses out of New Jersey and have made New Jersey one of the most unaffordable states in which to live.

Since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, New Jersey has lost 150,100 jobs.

While Jon Corzine is claiming he created 13,000 jobs, by the actions he has taken since his inauguration the facts speak differently. Faced with an unemployment toll that rose to 9.2 percent last month, the Corzine administration spin is that the loss of jobs in June was the smallest since the recession began. Tell that to the thousands of unemployed who are standing in a line that isn’t moving.

A combined total of eight years of McGreevey and Corzine burdening business with taxes, fees, and regulation has not only chased many business’s out of New Jersey, but has taken over 100,000 people with them.

The facts are:
• Since 2002, more than 230,000 people have left New Jersey.
• Over the last seven years, property taxes, on average, have risen almost 55 percent statewide and by 20 percent since Corzine took office.
• The current budget increased taxes on payroll, income, cigarettes, alcohol, lottery winnings and increasing DMV fees, for a total of $1 billion.
• The current budget will do nothing to balance next years obligations, and will only pay last years debt.

Unless New Jersey starts creating policies to bring industry back, the unemployed will still be standing in a line that not going to move.

Corzine can spin it however he wants, but bad news is bad news, and four more years of Corzine can only mean four more years of bad news.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Friday, July 31, 2009

Job Growth Vital to NJ Economy

Unemployment in New Jersey is at its highest level in 32 years, the past 6 months of job losses have exceeded anything we've experienced and the number of long-term unemployed is at an all-time high since World War II. Once the recovery begins, many unemployed looking for jobs will realize that jobs as good as the ones they lost are almost impossible to find since layoffs in this recession are permanent and not temporary.

Taking into consideration the current 9.5 % unemployment, plus another 8% that are no longer collecting and off the statistical radar screen we are looking at 18% to 20% unemployment. I expect unemployment to reach somewhere around 11 to 12% before it stabilizes. Even when this recession is over, the amount of job losses have exceeded job creation. The road to recovery will be a long one before anyone realizes the recession is over.

Many of our residents are finding their benefits coming to an end, and left with nowhere else to turn.

Many of the unemployed will find that their previous jobs have been eliminated; new wages will not come close to prior earnings.

Since 2001, New Jersey has had a 23 percent decline in manufacturing, losing 96,200 jobs. The increased corporation business tax liability imposed in 2002, requiring a business to pay a surcharge equal to 4% of the amount of the corporation’s tax liability. Since the recession began in December 2007, New Jersey had shed 155,000 jobs. By the end of 2008, more than thirty-one corporations moved to Pennsylvania taking 21,000 jobs with them, along with $13 billion in income and wealth. Due to the increase in business tax 100,000 jobs were lost.

New Jersey needs to put an end to its stifling business practices. We need to eliminate the 4% corporate tax, rollback the 25% tax on wine and spirits, and find ways to help small business owners with affordable healthcare for their families and workers.

Since 2003 until now our legislation has put forth and implemented the payroll tax for paid family leave, the sales tax increase along with the sales tax expansion. There was the corporation business tax, increases on the realty transfer tax, casino taxes, hotel/motel bed and breakfast occupancy tax, the elimination of disallowance of depreciation deduction, elimination of deductibility of net operating expenses, taking away ability of a business to deduct from their taxes an amount for the depreciation of equipment and machinery. Also, the Corporation Business Tax and Gross Income Tax from the Federal Deduction of Qualified Production Activities Income, which increases taxes for certain New Jersey businesses by decoupling New Jersey’s Corporation Business Tax (CBT) and Gross Income Tax (GIT) from the federal manufacturer tax deduction.

The above mentioned taxes are only a few out of many penalties that have been detrimental to the decline of business in New Jersey since 2002. Is it any wonder jobs are leaving the state for greener pastures?

Revenue that would have gone to the business owners to expand and create jobs, raises, payroll, and hiring is being swallowed up by state greed to replace the fiscal mismanagement of years gone by. Trenton needs top take a step back and take a look as what must be done to reverse the trend and replace lost revenue. Raising taxes in a recession is not the answer, having an adverse affect.

Trenton must find a solution to encourage business growth, so we are in a position as the effects of the recession diminish, business growth will be able to outpace job demand. Lacking jobs, the market can only perpetuate more of the same.

Corruption in NJ Government, a license to steal?

Public confidence has been shaken in current NJ administration, with more arrests said to be made very soon.

A ten year investigation, is this organized crime in state government?

Money laundering, body parts, bribes, and a list of more to come. Is it any wonder the citizen’s of this state are cynical about politicians.

Is this what Corzine's rebirth of ethic standards meant? Guilt by association has been taken to a new level.

However, on the bright side the citizen’s of NJ will be able to rest a little easier knowing a settlement was reached on Springsteen tickets.

Would this be a good time to start considering term limits?

Joe Sinagra

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthcare, The Sky is not Falling

We do need healthcare reform, but it should be looked into at a slower pace. This is a start to what could be good for all of America. There is no crisis, no immediate danger of the health care system collapsing.

We cannot pass increased costs on to the business owners and corporations. Government cannot tell citizens they must carry health care insurance or they will be penalized. America’s 47 million uninsured people would be required to purchase a health policy or face financial penalties. To ask citizens to make another choice in what bill to pay at the end of the month would be creating an undo hardship on them.

All Americans deserve access to affordable health care, but to increase taxes during an economic recession, especially on small businesses, is not the right way to accomplish that goal. To mandate that individuals face penalties during hard times is a bitter pill to swallow.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 H.R. 1 will increase the number of those dependent on the Federal Government for health care by about 8.2 million. By creating a panic, insisting that it must be done now or else, is throwing good money after bad, making a bad situation worse.

Reforming Medicare and Medicaid would be a good start. In 2007, 32.7 billion dollars was spent on improper Medicaid payments. Instead of reforming the program, there is a formula that actually rewards states for driving up their health care costs. Senior citizens would be asked to pay higher premiums for Medicare drug coverage.

Government is going to spend $634 billion on health care, half of that will be paid by new taxes. Experts predict the costs would be closer to $1 trillion dollars.

Republicans are not blocking the healthcare plan. If all the GOP Congressman voted against it, there are enough Democrats to vote in the affirmative to push this bill through.

I believe by pushing this plan through before it is ready, will lengthen the recession.

If the recession is to improve as some are predicting by the middle of 2010, there is plenty of time to put together a health plan without being hasty. To ratify a rushed healthcare plan before all aspects and resulting consequences are looked at, will certainly cost us much more than we bargained for.

This is one plan that must be read from cover to cover before it is voted on. A haphazard decision would be catastrophic.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jobs necessary for the survival New Jersey

It is costing us $100 million a day in stimulus interest. Unemployment has gone from 8.5% to over 10%.

The $29 million budget the Governor signed will not bring relief to an already suffering working class.

Unfunded pensions, health care benefits for retirees are costing every man women and child left in the state about $3800. With the new budget, we are using new debt to pay down the old debt.

A year from now, we will be looking to another increased budget, because the current budget does nothing to prepare for New Jersey’s future. How in the world, during a recession can you justify raising taxes on an already struggling working middle class?

New Jersey is already unaffordable to many of its citizens, and has caused many of them to flee the state. Friends, neighbors, relatives with the hope of something better across the state line.

The exodus from New Jersey began in 2002. At that time 23,000 more people moved out of the state than moved into it, increasing in 2006 72,000, escalating to 196,000 by the end of 2008. The dampening of the housing market in recent months, however, could lead some people to stay.

To some of the families I’ve talked to in the district, this budget will devastate them.

This recession had nothing to do with NJ’s economy; it's due to eight years of overspending that has brought us to where we are. Revenues averaged about 3%, but spending continued at an average of 7 to 9%.

Many jobs continue to leave New Jersey, taking residents with them. Thousands of jobs in the telecommunications industry are gone; New Jersey lost 8,400 high technology jobs between 1990 and 2005. Since 2003 the pharmaceutical industries have been relocating, and less than 14 percent of the country’s pharmaceutical jobs remain in New Jersey.

The loss of state resources, families, jobs are a direct results that contributed to the loss in the states economy, reducing consumer expenditures, employment, and state taxes.

To create jobs, as a state we need to lead if we want this economy brought back to an enviable status.

Let’s use some of that the $18 billion dollar stimulus not included in the budget to create permanent jobs.

I propose as a start, the elimination of the 4% corporate tax, as an incentive to bring business back into New Jersey.

Throughout the state there are warehouses, buildings, industrial parks that are run down and abandoned, in areas such as Camden, Trenton, Newark, and South Plainfield.

Let’s tell business that we want them back, asking them to invest in these areas rather than building new facilities, give them a 20 year tax renewal option. The first 5 years there would be no property tax payments, ten years 35%, fifteen years 75%, and at the twentieth year it is open for renegotiation. Or a possible tax rotation plan where at year twenty it would go to 100%, and the following year would start at 25, 50, 75, and 100%.

They would not be penalized for property improvements; they would be given tax incentives for going “green”. The recycling of water, solar energy, generation of electricity are some areas business could be rewarded for their innovativeness.

Any corporations relocating to these areas would be required to hire at least 30% of their workforce from within their respective area, thereby helping local employment. Any employee hires over 500, corporations would receive tax incentives or credits.

By relocating to these areas, it would create construction jobs, help the housing market, and bring revenue into surrounding towns from the money that will be spent by the ensuing labor force.

By reducing unemployment, creating employer incentives, eliminating bureaucratic red tape for business owners, all will have an immediate effect on increased revenue to New Jersey.

Although not perfect as specifics would be worked out, and unless critics have a better plan, it is a start. We need a plan to invite business back to New Jersey and give them a reason not to leave.

Increasing taxes to make up for lost revenue is detrimental to New Jersey’s economy. Cutting needed programs, and giving the working class less pocket money weakens our economy even more.

As good as they are intended to be, we can no longer afford to throw money away on open space, park projects, the study of cranberry bogs, when the people of this state don’t have the funds or the means to take advantage of them.

We will never balance a budget without financial prudence, jobs are essential to New Jersey’ future.

Joe Sinagra

NJ 18th District Assembly Candidate

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1 Dead After Freight Train Derails Northwest of Chicago

(click on the above Headline for story link)
1 Dead After Freight Train Derails Northwest of Chicago - ...
Jun 20, 2009 ... 1 Dead After Freight Train Derails Northwest of Chicago, A Tank car loaded with thousands of gallons of highly flammable ethanol exploded.

In 2006 when I ran for Congress, (before the increase in gasoline prices) my statement regarding fuel was that we must find other fuel alternatives to preserve our future. Natural gas reserves are about equal or slightly less than oil reserves. Oil production peaked in the 1970’s and has been declining since.

Thirty-five years ago, the United States produced 9.4 million bpd of crude; today, it produces only about 4.7 million, importing over 55% today. World reserves are declining also, as supplies diminish, prices will continue to rise.

I had said, "We can no longer afford to ignore the issue, this will dramatically influence the economy in the US and abroad, we are heading for a major and financial crisis if we do not act responsibly now. Oil production will remain the same but due to population growth, demand will outpace the production. This will cause prices to skyrocket and oil-dependant economies to deteriorate."

"Here it is 2007 and nothing has changed other than the price of fuel costs increasing. In my congressional debates I had said although I am for the environment, at some point we must start looking into domestic drilling if we are not to become dependent of foreign oil entities. My opponent a “rocket scientist” said that he was against drilling but offered no viable alternative, nor an immediate solution. My suggestion was that we continue to look for alternative renewable sources, but until we find that alternative, drilling would give us the time to pursue alternative research. I don’t believe ethanol is the answer."

I wrote an article on Homeland Security and Chemical Plants. I mentioned the volatility of Ethanol. I had said at that time ethanol can not be piped and must be transported by truck or rail. How many of these rail cars or trucks are going through our communities? How it effects the safety of our citizens. At the time I wrote my article the chemical industry was self regulated and they are heavy lobbyists and government did not enforce regulation.

The media was so enamored with my opponents views, my opinions and articles were overlooked or ignored.

Picture a scenario of a town with 30,000 residents. An EMT response team with a crew of 10, and three ambulances. In the event of a chemical leak, large scale gas leak, how many hazmat suits are available, with thousands trying to flee, how do we save everyone?

For Immediate Release:


There are approximately 140 Chemical Plants in New Jersey and 15,000 throughout the United States. All with chemicals available for terrorists to use against us as weapons of mass destruction.

A breach in a chemical plant in Chicago would affect 3 million people, another in California has the potential to kill, wound and displace 8,000,000 people.

These statistics are from the Environmental Protection Agency based on chemicals stored in those plants.

We have a plant in Spotswood that stores chlorine, where 1.1 million lives are potentially endangered within 14 miles, and is less than one mile from five schools. About 1 ¼ miles away there is a school in East Brunswick.

A single chlorine tank can lead to 17,500 deaths, 10,000 severe injuries, and 100,000 hospitalizations.

For towns near chemical plants, evacuation is not the solution. Evacuations are for floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes and work well for advance warning systems. In the event of a chemical attack, there would be no advance warning, and evacuation will not work. Prevention, containment, and remediation should be the priorities.

To illustrate the damage that can happen, I will describe in short detail of what happened in Bhopal India. It was in 1984 that Union Carbide India accidentally released 40 tons of methyl isocyanate into the air, killing 7,000 immediately. In trying to escape the gas, the transportation system in the city collapsed and many people were trampled in their attempt to distance themselves from the danger. The escaped gases injured anywhere from 150,000 to 600,000 people, 15,000 of whom died later. None of the six safety systems designed for containment were operational, and during the night while people were sleeping, they were awakened with burning eyes, noses, and throats. Coughing up blood while trying to run away and losing control of their bladders and bowels. Within hours, thousands lay dead in the street.

The Bhopal incident should have been a warning of the potential havoc that is caused without the proper checks and balances.

In 2004 a chlorine leak in south western China forced the evacuation of 150,000 people and left nine dead, and the previous December forced the evacuation of 60,000 people.

On January 6, 2005 in Graniteville South Carolina, chlorine leaking from a derailed tank car caused the evacuation of 5,000 people, killing nine people and injuring hundreds.

As recently as August 25 of 2006, 23 people in Dover Delaware were sent to the hospital, due to a styrene leak from a defective valve on a tanker rail car at a Dow site.

Police are not equipped with the proper resources to respond to a chemical emergency, nor are there sufficient emergency personnel to save any reasonable amount of lives as described in the Bhopal incident. Our first responders need training and equipment if they are to be able to do their jobs effectively. Hospitals, fireman, police, rescue squads need to be prepared for a large scale chemical attack or chemical release. Funding to provide doctors and nurses the proper course of action and facilities as to where citizens will go for treatment. I suggest appointing a State Homeland Hospital Medical Director who will oversee all medical facilities, coordinate and train personnel to handle a large scale crisis.

In just our local communities, we have chemicals such as vinyl acetate in Dayton, titanium tetrachloride in Edison, 360,000 lbs. of chlorine at a plant in Spotswood, vinyl acetate monomer in Somerset, and methyl chloride in Old Bridge. The Middlesex County Utilities Authority in Sayreville has 720,000 lbs. of chlorine on site as registered with the EPA.

I propose that all chemical plants, pesticide manufacturers, paint manufacturers, and refineries are required to do a thorough background check on employees, mandatory drug screening. Outside contracted employees must have clearances before working on or entering any chemical site, all outside vendor vehicles searched before entering a plant. All necessary agencies are to receive notification in regards to the transportation of chemicals to and from plants. There are many plants with aging systems waiting for an accident. Twice a year the containment and security of those chemicals need to be subject to required inspections, including the transportation means that are used. Standardization and guidelines need immediate legislation for the monitoring of spills, leaks, breach of security, means of transportation, safety of equipment, and the routes used. Required inspections of vessels used to hold the chemical, the safety of the railways, the valves and shutoffs used to control and contain these chemicals. Regulation of trucks and truck routes need to be looked at in the transportation of Ethanol, which is highly volatile product.

All schools must be required to submit a contingency plan for procedures, made available to the public in the event of a chemical emergency, whether it is a lockdown or evacuation.

It has been at least four years since a Senate panel unanimously passed a bill to create security standards for the nation’s chemical plants; Congress has yet to agree on mandatory safeguards.

When officials tell us, we have it under control, we must ask how. What plan of action do they have to protect the citizen’s and children of those in proximity to those plants? Getting in your car and driving across the highway is not the answer.

It is imperative that we apply for The Department of Homeland Security Funding Formula, so we have the necessary equipment and training. Funding that is based on risk, not on the parties controlling local government.

National Security funds were distributed on a partisan basis, funds not based on risk! When funds are distributed based on party affiliation over lives in our communities, we need to question the rationale behind those disbursements.

Funds are wasted when they are used for Gyms, Bowflex equipment, TV sets, monies wasted on frivolity when accountability isn’t required on how the money was spent.

For the year 2006 the applicants on the list of eligibility are Elizabeth, Jersey City and Newark with a 10 mile buffer around the area. The 12th District did not make that list.

When our assembly has time to legislate that our state dirt will be Downer soil, over the protection of lives, we have a definite problem.

There seems to be a nonchalant attitude regarding chemical plants, and we are fooling ourselves if we are lulled into thinking this could never happen in our society or our local communities. We are living in different times, the world is changing, and we must stop acting as if it will not happen here.

We as a country, scour the world looking for weapons of mass destruction. We are inviting trouble when we allow biological and chemical weapons right in our own backyard, and then ask our government not to place controls over the chemical plants that use them. There are too many lives at risk to ignore the makings of a disaster in our communities; it is only a matter of time. We should not need to wait until a catastrophe happens in our communities. Action is needed now.

We have provided the bomb; all that’s needed is a fuse.

Joseph Sinagra
18th District Assembly Candidate

Realty Transfer Fee too much for sellers

Since 2003, this tax has increased over 80 percent, and with the added municipal home sales tax, it would make it 103 percent since 2003. - Joe Sinagra

I recently read a letter to the editor pointing out that many people are unaware of the sales tax on homes.

I read it with intense interest because I'd love to sell my home and move away from New Jersey … move far away. But now the times do not favor sellers — prices have dropped because of the economy, banks are not giving mortgages because they have suffered tremendous losses from uncreditworthy borrowers, and mortgage interest rates have begun to inch higher. So, I'm stuck.

To think that there's a tax, a stealth sales tax, on top of all the other expenses in selling a home, is just too, too much to contend with.

This Realty Transfer Fee (RTF) that the letter writer, Joe Sinagra, a state Assembly candidate for the 18th District, discusses, is an insidious tax. It was supposed to help support the recording of real-estate transactions. I assume books, records and maps are all brought up to date. Well, how much money does it take in this age of the computer to record real-estate transactions? The costs should have gone down.

Sinagra points out that since 2003 when Jim McGreevey was governor, the state increased the tax more than 80 percent, and municipalities increased it 103 percent. There's no end to it. Reverse the RTF and end it. The county clerk's office, where all these transactions get recorded, did not become modern and efficient.

The state and the municipality receive more and more from the sale of the home just through normal growth and development. The population of New Jersey in 1960 was 6,066,782 — the RTF began in 1968. The population of New Jersey in 1970 was 7,171,112, an 18 percent increase. The population of New Jersey in 2008 was 8,698,879, a 21 percent increase over 1970 and a 43 percent increase over 1960. That means more homes, many more. That means an increasing revenue stream.

Even if you live out of state and own a home in New Jersey, you are still subject to a 2 percent fee. How about people who liveout of state and inherit a home in New Jersey? More revenue.

What interests this governor is more tax revenue, all at the expense of the individual sellers. Sinagra points out that 57 percent of the tax money goes to the state's general fund; 19 percent, state's Extraordinary Aid Account (EEA); 18 percent, Neighborhood PNRF; 18 percent to the counties for general use; 7 percent, Public Health Priority Fund. Not one of those funds is for the recording of real-estate transactions.

If the government is collecting money for a specific purpose and then it decides to divert the money to other areas, then it's time for us to decide to vote against the current officials in government, like the incumbents.

Cheryl Bass

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The $395,455 Train Ride

We are exporting our jobs and money away from our state. We are watching tax funds ebbing away to boost our neighbors economy. I believe our politicians are looking in the wrong direction in building a second rail tunnel to New York, with another proposal to expand a rail tunnel which would transport New Jersey residents and drop them off in Philadelphia.

These tunnels are going to be subsidized by New Jersey. The spending of our tax dollars to move people out of the state makes no sense at all. Take the $3 billion dollars and use it to benefit the people of New Jersey, not New York and Philadelphia.

A selling point to justify this project is that 22,000 cars will be eliminated from the roadways. Dividing 22,000 into the expected $8.7 billion project, it would cost $395,455.00 for each vehicle removed from the roads, so drivers can take the train to work in New York City and spend their money there. This makes no economic sense.

Should we be spending money just to make it easier for people to get to New York City and make their economy stronger? Should we help Philadelphia prosper? They should be building rail systems so their citizens would have an easier commute to New Jersey.

Use the $3 billion dollars to make New Jersey a place where businesses want to relocate to, instead of using money on a tunnel that will siphon much needed New Jersey cash.

We have industrial parks in our state begging for business.

Let’s start by eliminating the proposed 4% business tax, tell business we want them back. Ask them to build in Industrial Parks in areas such as Camden, Trenton, Newark, Edison and South Plainfield instead of building a new facility. They would receive 5 years tax free, with a 20 year option. After 5 years, taxes would go to 25%, 15 years 75% and open to renegotiation after 20. Any green energy products used such as solar power, recycling of water usage, etc. they would be subsidized. They won’t be penalized for any property improvements. Thirty per cent of their work force must come out of those districts. Any employee over 500, business would receive a tax credit or incentive. Advertise to the business community our gates are open and we want them back.

Although it may not be a perfect plan, we need to start thinking outside the box on how we are going to put our citizens back to work, and grow New Jersey’s economy.

Use the $3 billion in stimulus money to fund business, hire our unemployed, keep existing business from leaving, keep money in the State of New Jersey to stimulate our economy, rebuild our infrastructure and transportation system in our state, would generate much needed income, and would be a boon for real estate. New Jersey should be in the envious position of New York and Philadelphia business wanting to relocate here, and their people commute and spend money in New Jersey.

Using New Jersey cash to create a better economy for our neighbors is not advantageous to improving our sorry state of affairs.

Used wisely, stimulus funds would benefit our economy for years to come.

Joe Sinagra
18th District Assembly Candidate

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Many are unaware of sales taxes on homes

Another form of taxation to the homeowners of New Jersey is the Realty Transfer Fee (RTF), pursued aggressively under Jim McGreevey and continued by Jon Corzine as an additional source of revenue.

Many of you who count on the profit of your home to move into another or out of state, are hit with this regressive tax, also known as New Jersey's exit tax.

The homeowner is penalized on all their years of hard work and investment that was put into that home, money taken from the equity that was built into the sale of that home.

You as a homeowner have to pay a tax for the privilege of selling your home.

Also, on a foreclosure, a realty transfer fee must be paid on the remaining balance of the mortgage, by the purchaser.

The home sales tax due on a home that sells for $356,700 is $2,800; a $600,000 home would have to pay $5,185. The New Jersey State Legislature is considering further increases to the home sales tax by permitting individual municipalities to establish their own fees in addition to those charged by the state. With the extra tax, the home sales tax bill would increase 13 percent. Many who sell their home are not informed of this tax, and are surprised when hit with the additional fees taken from the profit at the time of closing.

Since 2003, this tax has increased over 80 percent, and with the added municipal home sales tax, it would make it 103 percent since 2003.

With the higher realty transfer fee increase imposed in 2004, there was an 81 percent increase, with the state general fund receiving 57 percent of the total realty transfer fee, 19 percent for the state's Extraordinary Aid Account (EEA), 18 percent to the Neighborhood PNRF, 18 percent to the counties for general use, and 7 percent for the counties' Public Health Priority Fund, with a portion dedicated to affordable housing.

The 1968 fee in the beginning was revenue collected to cover the costs of recording real estate transactions. Having risen four times since then, increasing substantially each time, it is now used to fund general state expenditures, neighborhood preservation, public health, and shore protection.

Is Gov. Corzine telling us that state government will now keep all of what they receive from the realty transfer tax, with the municipalities now able to charge a tax to make up for what they won't be getting back from the state? Would this be considered double taxation?

This is a huge sum of revenue to the state. Was anyone keeping tabs on how it was spent? Or were the funds escalating year after year, just because there was an eternal, never-ending flow of tax revenue?

Has the state decided to keep all of the money as another alternative to be used toward balancing the budget?

This is one more tax burden that needs to be brought under control, and the monies collected must be accounted for.

Joe Sinagra
N.J. 18th District State Assembly Helmetta

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time to Redline Corzine

If Corzine were serious about bringing the state in order he would have phased out the pension system, raised the retirement age for state employees to the same as those in the private sector (no retiring before the age of 62), stop the borrowing without voter approval, and eliminate the corporate business tax, allowing industry to grow in New Jersey.

Instead he has raised taxes over 55% on just about everything imaginable since taking office. The 1% sales tax increase did nothing to aid the taxpayers of this state, and now the rebates are being taken away. He tried getting the taxpayers to vote for ½% dedicated strictly to property tax on the ballot, thereby ending any chance of property tax reform in the future. We already know his history on dedicated funds, such as taking the $4 million from the EMT fund to balance the deficit, as one example. Corzine had proposed the closure of 9 state parks to save $4.5 million, changed his mind and decided to build an $87 million park by using money from the Corporate Fund Tax.

The legislature is now considering if municipalities will be allowed to charge a local sales tax on real estate transfers when you sell your home.

With over 630,000 people out of work, business moving out of state taking workers and much needed revenue with them, more foreclosures predicted on the horizon, can we afford four more years of tax increases? Even should there be a slight climb in the economy, how long will it be before we get

Any state spending should be put on the shelf, maintaining necessary current projects on the books without further increases.

Taking more money out of the very pockets from those who are needed to nourish the economy, keeping business from growing, taking money from dedicated funds, and placing increased taxes on all to replace the states wasted spending and mismanagement is just plain irresponsible.

According to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll, Governor Corzine has failed to get a grip on government finances.

It’s time to draw a line through the bureaucratic waste; it’s time to redline Corzine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

One last kick in the butt before you leave

Another form of taxation to the homeowners of New Jersey is the Realty Transfer Fee (RTF), pursued aggressively under Jim McGreevey and continued by Jon Corzine as an additional source of revenue.

Many of you, who count on the profit of their home to move into another or out of state, are hit with this regressive tax. Also known as New Jersey’s exit tax, one last kick in the butt before you leave.

The homeowner is penalized on all their years of hard work and investment that was put into that home, money taken from the equity that was built into the sale of that home.

You as a homeowner have to pay a tax for the privilege of selling your home.

Also, on a foreclosure a realty transfer fee must be paid on the remaining balance of the mortgage, by the purchaser.

The Home Sales Tax due on a home that sells for $356,700 is $2,800; a $600,000 home would have to pay $5,185. The New Jersey State Legislature is considering further increases to the Home Sales Tax by permitting individual municipalities to establish their own fees in addition to those charged by the state. With the extra tax, the Home Sales Tax bill would increase 13%. Many who sell their home are not informed of this tax, and are surprised when hit with the additional fees taken from the profit at the time of closing.

Since 2003 this tax has increased over 80%, and with the added municipal Home Sales Tax would make it 103% since 2003.

With the higher Realty transfer fee increase imposed in 2004 there was an 81% increase, with the state general fund receiving 57% of the total realty transfer fee, 19% for the state’s Extraordinary Aid Account (EEA), 18% to the Neighborhood PNRF, 18% to the counties for general use, and 7% for the counties Public Health Priority Fund, with a portion dedicated to affordable housing.

The 1968 fee in the beginning was revenue collected to cover the costs of recording real estate transactions. Having risen four times since then, increasing substantially each time it is now used to fund general state expenditures, neighborhood preservation, public health, and shore protection.

Is Governor Corzine telling us that state government will now keep all of what they receive from the realty transfer tax, with the municipalities now able to charge a tax to make up for what they won’t be getting back from the state. Would this be considered double taxation?

This is a huge sum of revenue to the state, was anyone keeping tabs on how it was spent? Or were the funds escalating year after year, just because there was an eternal never ending flow of tax revenue?

Has the state has decided to keep all of the money as another alternative to be used towards balancing the budget?

This is one more tax burden that needs to be brought under control, and the monies collected must be accounted for.

Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District State Assembly Candidate

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Corzine Park

At the end of 2008, 196,000 families packed their bags, shut off the light switch, and left New Jersey.

The state lost nearly 100,000 jobs during the past year alone and, as of February, its unemployment rate stands at 8.2 percent, and increasing. Add in those who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits, and aren’t even bothering to look for work, it is closer to 15.7% mark.

Over the past seven years State spending has increased 46 percent under Democrat control, State debt stands at $44.5 billion, with the average property tax averaging around $7,000. At $7,045, it remains the highest in the nation, up nearly 20 percent under the Corzine Administration and 55 percent since 2002.

Several months’ back Corzine was talking about closing State Parks then rescinded his thoughts on that. Instead of closing parks he now wants to build one.

Even though the state is saddled with a $7 billion deficit, with many families losing their jobs and homes, left with no medical benefits, the Governor intends to close the $7 billion gap by saddling middle class families with $1 billion in new or increased taxes for 2010.

Is all this new revenue going towards paying down the debt, or to leave us with his future ego legacy of Corzine Park to the tune of $87 million? Not including overrun costs, which could peak at $500 million? If this is not enough to rile up the ire of state taxpayers, I don’t know what will.

Corzine has not followed through on any of his campaign promises, continuing to spend taxpayer money, knowing full well we were heading into a recession. His taxpayer be damned attitude continues, knowing the financial hardships being placed on New Jersey families. $87 million can go a long way in helping ease the pain of the state taxpayers who Corzine proclaims that he knows what they are going through.

If he can take $4 million from the EMT funds to balance the budget, he can divert the Corporation Business Tax towards that entity also. He isn’t using it for its intended purpose anyhow, which was to fund the development and maintenance of parks throughout the state.

Corporate Wall Street fiscal management, I think not. New Jersey burns, while fiddles are being played in the Statehouse.

Taking dedicated funds to pay off another debt is the easy way out, you don't have to work to hard to solve the problem at hand. Taking those funds to finance another project is ludicrous. It just creates another one down the road, which is how we got into this mess.

~ Joe Sinagra
NJ 18th District
State Assembly Candidate

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sea Turtles, Red Snappers & Loons . . . Oh my!

Drastic measures need to be taken in drastic times. What part do our legislatures not understand?

Don’t get me wrong, some earmarks are good and needed; others in this economy should be shelved. Such as $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa, Alabama receives $800,000 for genetic research on catfish, and Hawaii gets $2 million for the "promotion of astronomy”, $300,000 for migrating loons in Nevada, $3,000,000 for a footbridge in St. Louis, $1,000,000 for red snappers in Florida, $380,000 for a Lighthouse in Maine, and $7,000,000 for sea turtles in Hawaii. There are thousands of more earmarks like this.

People are losing their homes, jobs, and watching their pensions dwindle. Unemployment is the highest we have seen since the Depression, many are watching their benefits run out, who aren’t even considered a statistic once their off the unemployment roles.

This is money that could be used to offset or lower property taxes, create jobs, and extend benefits.

Explain to someone their job couldn’t be saved even though we had $1.7,000,000 for pig odor research, a person who can’t find work why we spent $7,000,000 on sea turtles, or to someone who is living in the street that we had $800,000 for the genetic study of catfish but there wasn’t enough left to lower your property taxes, tell a family who can’t afford to buy medicine for their child but there was enough for a $3,000,000 footbridge.

We can as a country can afford to reduce medical costs, we have the money to lower property taxes, but when funds are spent on unneeded or wasteful projects just so a congressman can say they brought money into the state or their district is ludicrous.

I believe our representatives have it backwards, perhaps if Federal and State funds were to go towards medical, housing, creating jobs, and building the infrastructure of our cities, whatever was left would then be earmarked for pet projects .

In New Jersey $451, 000 for cranberry and blueberry research will not help a large portion of its citizens out of the morass government got us into.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s just the ear or the whole hog, what’s significant is that it’s still pork in spite of what the terminology is.

~ Joe Sinagra

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Liberals Bleeding Us Dry One Step at a Time

Here we go again with the politically correct “High Risk” (poorer), “Low Risk” (wealthier) areas; we wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Currently, there is talk that we may have to pay an additional $20 per vehicle to subsidize the auto insurance for the people who live in “High Risk” areas. Keeping premiums down for motorists living in Newark, Paterson, Jersey City, Camden, Elizabeth, Irvington, Perth Amboy and other “high-risk” insurance towns.

I am incensed, for lack of a better word to use in print. If you live in a “High Risk” area it is either because you can’t afford to live in a “Low Risk” area, don’t have the education to get a better job, or live in a “High Risk” area by choice.

Because you are fortunate enough to own two or more vehicles, you are now going to be penalized. Let’s suppose you are penalized to the point you now have to sell one vehicle to be able to afford the other. If your county owns a fleet of vehicles, will the taxpayers foot the bill to cover the additional $20 on each vehicle?

If you’re living in an area where the vandalism is high, cars are stolen, cars are sprayed with graffiti, and tires are stolen, windshields are smashed; I am not obligated to pay for that problem, which is why I choose not to live in those areas. How many that live in “High Risk” areas even carry insurance? Why and how, are these people driving if they can’t afford the insurance? Maybe we are being asked to subsidize the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist clause. Perhaps another back door approach to fund insurance for the illegals, once they receive their “driver privilege card”. Now that “State Insurance” is being phased out, could this be a way to get us to pick up the tab and carry those who can’t afford it, thereby eliminating the state from dealing with it?

I have a news flash for Insurance Commissioner Stephen Goldman; if you are in the insurance business, it is considered a “risk business”. Like any other business, if you can’t afford to stay in business, close your doors. The state mandates we must carry insurance, but in many incidences, we wind up paying back our own costs for damages. I work to pay for my insurance, I don’t work so I can pay for someone who earns less or works less.

The “share the wealth” is getting a little out of hand, and this is only the start. How much more is the average taxpayer required to give before they are tapped out?

In part of a speech on February 19, 2008 in Wisconsin, Obama said “In the end, this economic agenda won't just require new money. It will require a new spirit of cooperation and innovation on behalf of the American people. We will have to *learn more, and study more, and work harder. We will be called upon to take part in a shared sacrifice and shared prosperity."

What this means in a nutshell is that in addition to the additional taxes on those making over $250,000 a year, and eliminating the $102,000 wage cap on Social Security taxes, Obama is also proposing that Americans pay additional taxes on oil, coal and natural gas in order to redistribute their wealth to the rest of the world.

Obama's Global Poverty Plan to reduce poverty around the world would include a tax of 0.7% of U.S. gross national product as part of his shared prosperity plan.

This Act would commit the United States to the U.N. that industrialized countries should spend 0.7 percent a year of their gross domestic product on foreign aid. Over the next decade or so, that would work out to $850 billion dollars for American taxpayers.

*Learn more and Study More?
Most of us are living in “Low Risk” areas because that’s why we learned and studied to get ahead so we could move up that rung on the ladder.

*Work Harder?

As far as myself, I held two full time jobs for almost three years; averaging 8 hours sleep for a five day week, and held a part-time job on Saturday, to get what I wanted or needed. How much harder should we now work to “share the wealth” of our hard work to those who would rather receive a handout?

Many of us work hard until we can have somewhat of a comfortable life, but now we are going to be supplementing those who have nothing. What’s next, will we be asked to subsidize “High Risk” heat bills, rent, education, etc, until the pockets of those barely squeaking by in the “Low Risk” areas are empty. How long before “Low Risk” areas have to pay $20 out of their Health Care to subsidize Hospitals in “High Risk” areas? People living in “Low Risk” areas will be taxed until they are forced to move to “High Risk” (poorer) areas. You will work more and more to keep what you have, as more and more is being taken from your pay, to subsidize those who have less. How long before the “liberals’ determine you have more than enough in your savings, that you can share some of it with the less unfortunate?

I’d like to ask Commissioner Goldman what his income is; perhaps he won’t miss the $20. Tell those who have lost jobs, lost their homes, and are barely paying their car insurance as it is, that they may have to fork over an additional $20 because they are fortunate enough to live in a "Low Risk" area. They would love to give up some more of what little they have left.

“The industry challengers say the power to establish rates is up to the Legislature, not the insurance department bureaucrats”, I’m sure the insurance lobbyists will stand back and won’t bother the Legislature while they mull it over.

I don’t mind helping those down on their luck, but I don’t need government telling me where my money is going to be spent.

Is this the next wave of liberalism?

Could it be we are being forced to take the path to socialism, whether we like it or not?

~ Joe Sinagra

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Need Property Tax Relief

If those in the State Government would make it affordable for people to stay in their homes, the need for more affordable housing would be cut considerably, and would allow for more available units to those who need it.

Seniors on fixed incomes, who have paid off their mortgages, cannot afford the increased taxes, and have had to give up their homes. The elderly are more susceptible to losing their homes, more so than any other group. If they were able to stay in their homes we would not have to construct as many senior affordable housing units.

Most people if given the option would like to stay in their homes, neighborhoods, near their families and friends.

With state aid being cut, municipalities are forced to raise local taxes to make up for the shortfall. It may help the municipalities, but it doesn’t help the taxpayers.

We need to cut property taxes substantially, not the meager tax breaks here and there. Many people when they bought their homes could afford it. It isn’t the mortgages that are strangling many of our homeowners, it is the property taxes. Many homeowners can afford their mortgage payments; they just can’t keep pace with every tax increase that comes along, affecting renters as well.

I believe that is the reason many school budgets are voted down, people can no longer afford to stay in their homes as it is without incurring additional burdens.

When NJ raises other taxes, to replace lost property tax revenue, it’s more of a tax shift than a tax cut. Raising the sales tax to 7% from 6% was supposed to give us property tax relief. Roll the sales tax back to 6%; the so called 1% increase that was to help bring the state’s financial mess stability sure didn’t help, other than to take more money out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

Property taxes have risen 27% since 2000, less than the 41% inflation-adjusted increase in home values, but it's twice as fast as the growth in sales or income taxes. Property taxes now consume a greater share of personal income than any other time in New Jersey’s history. How long before the taxes will equal more than the value of your home? Those who bought homes years ago are finding their property taxes are more than their monthly mortgage payments.

How many times are we going to hear from our legislators, “if elected I will cut taxes?” They should have been doing that all along. Cutting taxes and increasing state spending is not what I call fiscal management.

We can’t continue to raise taxes for the working class, at a rate faster than their ability to pay. If we need to restructure how property taxes are collected, stop talking about it, let’s do it.

Raising taxes, forcing people out of their homes and making it unaffordable to purchase a home is not the answer. It's bad for homeowners, renters, and business.

Flat tax, Fair Tax it doesn’t matter, now is the time to do something, anything but the way it is being done currently, the state needs to put disposable funds back into the pockets of the people if they expect to stimulate the economy. Stop taking money out of the pockets of those who need it the most, give them the capitol to spend, donate, contribute and save. Then, and only then will you see the results of a growing economy.

A real collective bipartisan effort is needed from those in the state capitol, to give relief to the people who put them in office.

By limiting the amount government can tax our property; perhaps with a constitutional cap will we be able to have substantial relief.

Whatever the solution is, we need to act now.

~ Joe Sinagra

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Illegal aliens mustn't get this state's welcome mat

To the Editor:

I agree with your editorial assessment "Don't reward New Jersey illegal aliens".

During my congressional and senate campaigns, my views were pretty close to what was printed in the Home News Editorial on January 07.

What I find ironic is at the time; the press portrayed my position as being too strong against illegal immigration, “over the top” as one put it. At one editorial review, an editor stood up, pointed his finger at me and said “What, are you prejudiced!” It is a matter of what it is costing the citizens of our state and our country, not prejudice. With an economy that is souring, we can no longer afford to picked up added costs and pass them onto the taxpayers.

During my campaigns I spoke of exactly this very thing. I talked about the migration of illegal’s, and the drain on our country’s natural resources, the costs of education, health care, incarceration, schools, etc. Is the “driver privilege card” another back door attempt at amnesty? The card wouldn’t be considered and official ID, but would ensure that illegal immigrants go through the same testing as any other motorist.

Why as a citizen do we need 6 forms of identification to obtain a license, especially when you already have a legal driver license? Many more ramifications are ahead if this is allowed to pass.

As the Home News touched on in their editorial, there was already talk in 2006 about reduced college tuition's for “undocumented Immigrants”. In 2007 higher education costs for our state residents had gone up 35% since 2002. I was critical of the cuts on our universities and colleges, incurring increased costs for in-state students, while giving illegal's low cost or free education.

I had talked about the costs of health care, we as citizens must pay ludicrous amounts to stay healthy? If illegals can't qualify for Medicare coverage, partially paid through our payroll taxes, their costs are then covered through state Charity Care. A mere fraction of hospital care costs, is it a wonder hospitals are closing? Medical offices are throwing away millions upon millions of dollars each year in uncollected billing statements.

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.

There was talk of “undocumented” immigrants paying a fee so they can buy their way to citizenship. Is that a way of supposedly easing the pain of those who stayed in line, applied for citizenship and worked their butts off to be here?

I spoke of the “Dream Act”, which if passed it would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and dramatically increase the importation of foreign workers at a time 10 million Americans are looking for jobs and cannot find employment.

In one of my articles I stated, “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.”

To promote the availability of the Driver Privilege program, in 2006 would have cost the taxpayers another $90,000.

Bill A2607 was introduced in 2006, sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Vas -District 19 (Middlesex), Assemblyman Reed Gusciora - District 15 (Mercer), Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula - District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset), and Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson - District 37 (Bergen).

As long as our elected politicians are more concerned about how many votes they can cultivate, more than the rights and interests of legal citizens, nothing will change.

Immigration itself is not the problem, illegal or “undocumented” immigration is.

My personal view is, that once your attain citizen status; you are no longer an immigrant. You are an American.

On my website I surmised, “Any further attempt at Immigration reform won't happen until after the 2008 elections.”

Well . . . Happy New Year!

- Joe Sinagra