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