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

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