Category Archives: New Jersey

5 Reasons Why Chris Christie Would Be A Horrible President

This post from Addicting Info hits on all the points as to why our Governor, Chris Christie, would be a disaster as president. The post is not mean-spirted, just a matter-of-fact telling of how it is. Christie maybe the latest GOP flavor of the day and making people sit on the edge of their seats waiting like eager children for a double scoop of Rocky Road ice cream but the bottom line is, he is on the wrong side of many issues that are important to the average person.

The new Republican face of the week is Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. After constantly saying “no” over and over when questioned whether he will run for president, Christie is possibly having a change of heart. Added into the mix of current candidates, Christie would surely shake things up. His anti-worker stance in New Jersey has been popular among conservatives, but hated by many others. Here are 5 reasons why Chris Christie would be a horrible president.

1. War on Workers – As we look around the country, the war on workers has grown. Conservative governors such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Scott in Florida, have stepped on the average worker and union member as they’ve seen their rights stripped away at every turn. Chris Christie is one of the names on the list that has gone after union rights. In order to get his budget under control, instead of asking the wealthiest members of his state to contribute, Christie attacked union members and forced them into pension and health care cuts and froze their raises in the future.

2. Anti-Education – Like many other conservatives, the attack on public education is nothing new. Republicans look to privatize schools, manipulate the curriculum and cut more spending out of their budget to preserve the tax breaks for the wealthiest members of their state. Christie has cut over $1 billion in public education since coming into office, which effects both teachers and students. Public education cuts have more to do than just tightening the budget, they are also a great way to break apart public sector unions. Public school teachers are part of a larger public sector union, which are one of the top contributors to Democratic campaigns. Like his Republican friends, Christie looks to destroy unions in order to weaken the Democratic party, even at the expensive of working Americans.

3. Destroying Social Security – Out of all the government programs, none has stood the test of time and been as successful as Social Security. Before the great President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, over 75% of seniors lived in poverty, today that number is less than 10%. Chris Christie has followed the GOP stance on Social Security and calls for privatization and raising the retirement age. Currently, seniors over the age of 65 receive benefits. Christie and the Republicans have looked to raise the retirement age to close to 70, forcing the elderly to work even longer despite the average life expectancy in the US to be only 73. While Democrats look to preserve the program, Christie and the Republicans look to destroy it.

4. Christie, of course, loves the rich – While middle-class families lost their property tax rebates, got kicked out of health care programs and schools lost over $1 billion in funding causing massive tuition hikes, Chris Christie pushed to give tax breaks to top income earners. The “token” line of defense for Christie and the Republicans is that if you lower taxes, businesses will want to stay in the state, build and create jobs. This is proven to be false on many occasions. Many pharmaceutical companies have left Christie’s state of New Jersey and headed for states like California and Massachusetts not because of the tax rate, but because they have better research and development centers. Cutting taxes on the rich at the expensive of the middle-class is not just wrong, but deplorable.

5. His Health – When discussing a political candidate, people should stay away from personal matters unless it would really be detrimental to the office. Chris Christie has been criticized, and rightfully so, for his out of control weight problem. Christie has had a history of medical problems, and was even taken to the emergency room in July because of severe breathing problems and an asthma attack. Obesity is one of the leading causes of heart failure, and Christie is the perfect example of someone who needs to take better care of themselves. The issue with Christie’s weight has nothing to do with his politics, but maybe instead of trying to take care of the country, he should try to take care of himself first.

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Filed under AddictingInfo.com, Education, GOP presidential candidate, Gov. Chris Christie, millionaire tax cuts, New Jersey, Republicans, Social Security, war on workers

Senator Lautenberg Announces Disaster Assistance for Hurricane Irene

I want to provide you with a critical update on Federal Government disaster assistance that is available for New Jersey residents harmed by Hurricane Irene. If you yourself have not suffered damage, please forward this information to any family or friends who may need assistance.

Yesterday, President Obama issued a Major Disaster Declaration for damage resulting from Hurricane Irene in our state, which makes many New Jersey residents eligible for a number of Federal disaster relief programs. These programs offer grants and loans to individuals and loans to businesses.

The Federal Government has set up a website that allows people to apply online for assistance:

http://www.disasterassistance.gov

This website consolidates the application process across several Federal agencies, including FEMA and the Small Business Administration. The website also reduces the number of forms you will ultimately have to fill out, shortens the time it takes to apply and allows you to check the progress of your applications online.

If you want to apply by phone rather than the Internet, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362).

While the damage suffered across New Jersey is devastating, I know our state can rebound quickly. Federal aid will play a crucial role in our recovery, so please take advantage of the resources available. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime regarding this or other issues.

Sincerely,

Frank Lautenberg

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Filed under distaster relief, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, New Jersey, President Obama, Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Rush Holt: Latest Word On Hurricane Irene Recovery

Many in our community suffered losses in Hurricane Irene. I am continuing to survey the damage and to consult local officials about their observations.

Traveling by helicopter, by car, and door to door, I have seen that the damage is serious but spotty. Some neighborhoods have escaped damage, while others have suffered significant flooding. It is clear that, for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans, the hurricane’s impact is ongoing. I will continue to work with federal, state, and local officials to ensure that our state has every resource it needs to recover.

In the meantime, I encourage you to document any damage to your property for your insurance company. I also have written to the President to urge him to declare a major federal disaster area, and if and when this declaration is issued, I will follow up with information on any assistance for which you may be eligible to apply.

If your home was affected by flooding, I encourage you to follow guidance from FEMA upon returning home, as dangers may persist even after floodwaters recede.

You may also find New Jersey-specific information on the disaster response on the website of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. Up-to-the-minute information on road closures caused by the hurricane may be found at 511nj.org.

Finally, you may have heard that our region is suffering a blood shortage because Hurricane Irene forced the cancelation of many blood drives and donation appointments. If you are able to, I urge you to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible.

All of us owe deep gratitude to the public servants who worked through the storm to keep our communities safe. Princeton in particular suffered a great loss. One of our local volunteer EMTs confronted swift floodwaters in an effort to protect local residents and, tragically, was swept away and killed. His sacrifice reminds us of the dangers that our first responders face willingly each day, and it underscores the debt we owe to those who risk their lives to keep us safe.

Although we have suffered significant losses, already our community is rallying together. Over the weekend, while volunteering at a shelter in Holmdel, I saw firsthand how countless New Jerseyans gave generously to help those displaced by the storm. At times like these, we remember that we are one community, and we are united in our resolve to help our friends and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt

Member of Congress

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Filed under 511nj.org, American Red Cross, blood donations, Congressman Rush Holt, disaster assistance, FEMA, Hurricane Irene, New Jersey, President Obama, recovery efforts

President Obama Signs New Jersey Emergency Declaration

Washington – The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of New Jersey and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene beginning on August 26, 2011, and continuing.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all counties of the State of New Jersey.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named William L. Vogel as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION MEDIA SHOULD CONTACT: FEMA NEWS DESK AT (202) 646-3272 OR FEMA-NEWS-DESK@DHS.GOV

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Filed under FEMA, Hurricane Irene, New Jersey, President Obama, state of emergency

As A Matter Of Fact…Tax Them And They Leave? Apparently NOT


August 4th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

By Mary E. Forsberg

In 2008, 16,000 New Jersey taxpayers earned $1 million or more. That’s more than in any year before or since 2001 with only one exception – the boom year 2006. In that year, 18,400 New Jersey taxpayers earned more than $1 million. In the following year, only 15,900 taxpayers earned more than $1 million but their average income was $3.5 million, the highest average in any year to date. The numbers tell many stories. Did 2,400 high income people leave New Jersey between 2006 and 2008? Or was their income simply subject to the vagaries of Wall Street and the economy?

Anecdotes abound: So-and-so has a house in New Jersey and one in Florida and decided to call Florida his residence to avoid paying any state income tax (Florida has none). No one knows how often this happens.

Some things, however, are known.

According to data compiled over more than 20 years by the Internal Revenue Service, the average household income of those who move to New Jersey from other states is higher than that of households leaving New Jersey for other states.

Three states (New York, Pennsylvania and Florida) consistently account for the highest number of households moving into and out of New Jersey from elsewhere in the United States.

IRS data analyzed by NJPP in 2003 found no correlation between tax increases or cuts and movement into or out of New Jersey. It was not uncommon for the number of people coming to New Jersey the year after an income tax increase to exceed the number leaving or for the number leaving the year after a tax cut to exceed the number coming in. Further, in most years it was the case that both the number coming and leaving rose and fell in tandem.

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Tax Flight is a Myth: Higher State Taxes Bring More Revenue, Not More Migration,” provides an up-to-date rigorous examination of the unproven claims that tax hikes drive large numbers of households – particularly the most affluent – to other states. It concludes the following:

Migration is not common. Just 1.7 percent of U.S. residents per year moved from one state to another between 2001 and 2010.
The migration that is occurring is more likely to be driven by cheaper housing than by lower taxes. The difference between housing costs in two different states is often many times greater than the difference in taxes.

Recent research shows income tax increases cause little or no interstate migration. New Jersey is used as an example in two different studies examined in the report. The first, conducted by Stanford University sociologists, estimated the migration effect of New Jersey’s 2004 tax increase on filers with incomes exceeding $500,000. The authors found that net out-migration did increase for those in that income group but it also increased for those with lower incomes – and by virtually the same amount. The second report which was commissioned by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce found that most of the people included in the study who were moving from New Jersey had less than $500,000 a year in taxable income so would not have been subject to New Jersey’s highest 8.97 percent marginal tax rate. Despite this, the governor continues to claim this study as evidence of a tax-migration effect.

Low taxes can prevent a state from maintaining the kind of high-quality public services that people value, such as good schools, mass transit, cultural facilities and recreational opportunities.

Policymakers need honest and accurate information about the implications of tax increases and tax cuts in order to address the challenging fiscal and economic circumstances that most states continue to face. State policy makers should not let false claims about taxes and migration shape their decisions.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, Florida, high taxes, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, public service quality of life, tax migration

>New Jersey Policy Perspective President Deborah Howlett’s statement on the FY2012 New Jersey state budget

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July 1, 2011

Governor Christie’s profligate use of the line item veto on the state budget enacted by the Legislature this week did serious damage to virtually every constituency imaginable in this state – except for corporations and the super-rich.

Christie red-lined a litany of critical funding needs: health care for working families; tax credits for low-wage workers; after school programs for inner-city youth; legal counsel for indigent defendants; drugs for people with AIDS; college scholarships for gifted middle-class students; a resource center for Hispanic women; protective services for abused children; postpartum education; legal clinics; libraries; museums; mental health services; technology and even public television programming. The list is as long as it is damaging.

Unlike responsible governors in states such as Connecticut and California, Christie chose only to make cuts in services to balance the state budget. He refused to sustain the critical investments in New Jersey’s social infrastructure that have allowed all of its residents to enjoy a broadly shared prosperity.

The only winners in the governor’s budget are corporations that will continue to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies; those wealthy residents whose yearly income exceeds $1 million; and a governor who continues to choose partisan politics over sound public policy.

It’s now up to the Legislature to right these wrongs by over-riding the governor’s veto, line-by-line if necessary.

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Filed under budget adoption, Gov. Chris Christie, line item veto, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ State Budget

>AS a Matter Of Fact…Busting the myth: The real numbers show N.J. is not the most overtaxed state in the nation

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By Mary E. Forsberg and Deborah Howlett
June 26th, 2011

Perhaps you’ve heard a politician or two, in an accusatory tone, declare New Jersey has the highest taxes in the nation. It’s become a rallying cry for the current administration. It is repeated as an indisputable fact by the media. But mostly it just sounds right to people, perhaps because it so neatly fits the cynical narrative of government waste, fraud and abuse.
The thing is, it’s not true.

Consider this from a recent press release by the Connecticut House Republican Party:
“Connecticut residents already pay the highest taxes in America.”
Or this from the Buffalo News editorial page: “New York is the most overtaxed state in the nation.”
Nope. According to the Orange County chapter of the Lambda Alpha economics society, “California is the most overtaxed state in the nation,”
And from a conservative pundit in Chicago: “I live in Illinois … the most overtaxed state in the union.”
But wait. There’s another. The vice chair of the Maine Republican Party has said, “Maine is currently the most overtaxed state in America.”
They can’t all be right.
For the record, New Jersey ranks eighth among all states when state and local tax revenues are compared as a percentage of taxpayer’s personal income, according to an analysis using data from the U.S. Census and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. It’s the cleanest comparison of the tax “burden” in all 50 states. New Jersey’s ranking drops considerably once you get past property taxes and look only at state tax collections.
Simply comparing total revenue collected from taxes in each state would produce a wholly inaccurate comparison because poorer, less-populated states would always appear to tax less. Measuring as a percentage of personal income, or on a per capita basis, provides necessary
context and a more accurate comparison among states.
Consider the big three state revenue sources in New Jersey — income, corporate and sales taxes — and then size up property taxes.

Income tax


On a per capita basis, New Jersey ranks seventh among states for income tax revenues, according to U.S. Census data. As a percentage of personal income, New Jersey ranks 19th among states.
It’s important to understand New Jersey is consistently at the top of lists that rank states in terms of median income and millionaires (those with at least $1 million in investable or liquid assets) as a percentage of households.
With all that wealth, the state also has a progressive income tax that collects significant amounts of its revenue from the wealthiest in the state and virtually none from the poorest, such as married couples whose incomes are less than $20,000 ($10,000 for a single person).
The progressive aspect of New Jersey’s income tax has evolved since the state’s first 2 percent flat tax was enacted in 1976. Public opinion polls show a vast majority approve of raising rates levied on income that exceeds $1 million a year.
Other states also have local income taxes. Philadelphia, for example, levies a 3.928 percent wage tax on residents and a 3.4985 percent wage tax on nonresidents on top of the state’s 3.07 percent flat income tax. Cities in New Jersey are barred from imposing income taxes on workers.
Corporate Tax

Corporate taxes in New Jersey rank ninth as a percentage of personal income and sixth when measured per capita.
New Jersey took in a little more than $2 billion in fiscal year 2010 from corporations, or 7.5 percent of all revenue collected by the state. However, 93 percent of the 252,000 corporations subject to New Jersey’s corporate business tax paid the state less than $2,000 each. Corporate revenues for the year surpassed $24.6 billion.
Sales Tax

Comparing revenue from the sales tax puts New Jersey 19th on a per capita basis and 36th when measured as a percent of personal income.
The state sales tax is often cited as one of the highest in the nation because of its 7 percent rate. However, it is applied more narrowly than sales taxes are in many other states.
Food, clothing and gas are exempt, for example. Depending how one looks at it, that is a loss to the state or a savings to taxpayers of about $2.6 billion.
Nor does New Jersey allow cities or counties to collect local sales taxes, which many other states allow.
Montgomery, Ala., levies a 10 percent sales tax (4 percent state; 6 percent local) on everything sold, including food.
In Georgia, a 12 percent combined state and local sales tax is the norm in some areas of the state.
Property Taxes

What’s abundantly clear, however you slice the data, is that New Jersey ranks among the top one or two states in the nation when it comes to property taxes, which are the only real source of revenue for local government in the Garden State. Last year, property taxes produced $25 billion in revenues, exceeding revenue from the state’s three major taxes.
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In total, as a percentage of personal income, taxes in New Jersey rank about eighth among all the states. Considering it ranks near the top for median income and wealth, that designation hardly seems out of line.
But those are not the numbers pushed by anti-tax zealots. Groups such as the conservative Tax Foundation have cited New Jersey as having the highest tax burden in the nation, using a convoluted formula that doesn’t quite parse the intricacies of local tax laws.
For example, the Tax Foundation charges back to New Jersey the $2.6 billion in income taxes paid to New York by New Jersey residents who work in New York and must abide by New York tax laws, over which New Jersey has no control.
By the way, that $2.6 billion is not just a blip in the data. It is more than New Jersey collects from its corporation business tax, the state’s third-largest revenue source, and it is one of the largest income transfers from one state to another in the country.
All of this just points to the need to be careful when citing state rankings.
Some, such as the Tax Foundation’s, only obscure real facts because they allow politicians to cherry-pick data and use them to justify their political philosophy.
So the next time you hear someone say New Jersey is the most overtaxed state in the nation, look past the rhetoric and consider the real numbers behind the statement.

Check out the tax data tables here.

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Filed under corporate taxes, Debrorah Howlett, income taxes, New Jersey, New Jersey Policy Perspective, property taxes, sales tax, tax burden