The headlines of this past Thursday told about New Jersey lawmakers reaching a “deal” or a “compromise” on the stalled and bloated budget. But those terms are not appropriate. This was a sham and a travesty. Democrats in Trenton shut down our government to fight over which of our taxes they would raise.
As the new Monmouth County Republican Chairman, I am stunned by the uniform response by fellow residents of every political stripe. Outrage. May I remind the Democrats in the legislature that they were elected to represent the best interests of the people, not to play a child’s game of “winner-take-all.” Was it ever in our interests to shut down revenue generating casinos and parks?
With all of the political grandstanding and rhetorical ramblings of this past week, the Governor and Democratically-controlled legislature are hoping you the taxpayer won’t notice that 800 pound elephant in the room – that cutting spending is the real answer.
They are wrong. Monmouth County residents know a bad deal when they see it. This is the biggest budget in state history and New Jerseyans will be paying more in taxes than ever before. Governor Corzine is not balancing a budget, he is increasing spending by almost $3 billion, and paying for it with over $2 billion in new taxes. This includes $1.1 billion in a sales tax hike that impacts lower income workers most severely. Politicians laugh off the estimated $275 dollars this will cost every family, but for my household this represents one week’s worth of groceries. Clearly, our children deserve those resources more than the dual pensioned political class in Trenton.
We have been told to accept this tax hike because it will lower our property taxes. I thought the millionaires tax enacted by Democrats would do that. Instead, every day 115 New Jerseyans leave our state for the lower taxes and sensible governing of the so-called “red states.” What the Governor and his legislature fail to realize is that with this “freedom flight,” New Jersey continues to lose ground on economic opportunity, new job creation, and improving standards of living. There is a truism that Democrats in Trenton don’t want to tell you. New taxes never created a job, never helped a young family to invest, or save for their children’s college.
There was another way, a better way. The Assembly Republicans, with leadership from many of our outstanding Monmouth County legislators proposed $2.2 billion in real budget cuts. They made the hard decisions that we elected them to make, including calling for an end to dual pensions, and deep cuts from the over 1,200 politically appointed positions in non-essential roles. Hats off to Senators Palaia and Kyrillos, and Assemblymen and women Steve Corodemus, Sean Kean, Sam Thompson, Amy Handlin, and Jennifer Beck for voting NO on this abomination of a budget bill.
At the county level, our Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders responded to New Jersey’s budgeting woes by keeping the taxpayer squarely in their priorities, and holding the line on spending. The Freeholders slashed a proposed $18 million increase in county spending by more than half without sacrificing jobs or services. County government is being streamlined to improve efficiency and stem future increases. Republican leadership recognizes that you can manage spending, growth and change without punishing our overburdened taxpayers.
When you run a household, and you decide to irresponsibly increase your spending, you can not automatically turn to your employer and demand a raise. This is a recipe for the unemployment line, and a pink slip. In fact, a pink slip would be the right idea for a Governor who used Republican principles of self-reliance, entrepreneurship, and investment to improve his own life, but magically transforms into a tax and tax again politician when given the opportunity to govern. New Jersey deserves better.
Thankfully, in Monmouth County we have leaders and public servants in the Monmouth County Republican legislative delegation, a great Board of Republican Freeholders, and competent, outstanding Republican candidates on all levels of office who understand this. It is more important than ever that we come together and elect Rosemarie Peters, Andrew Lucas and Freeholder Anna Little this November.