If the gas-tax repeal is Senator Tom Kean Jr.'s plan to save the endangered liberals in his caucus, it totally crapped the bed on Saturday when the kick-off rally to a series of rallies across the state was cancelled and a pro-Senator Steve Oroho rally popped up in its place. The repeal is being pushed by "Red Shirt" movement leader Bill Spadea, cultural leftist Senator Kip Bateman, and the petroleum lobby.
Slated for Newton Green on Saturday, October 22nd (11am-2pm), the rally was organized with support from the petroleum lobby by people claiming to represent the Tea Party and other groups. The run-up to the rally benefitted from paid advertising and media coverage, including a front page story on the New Jersey Herald the day before. Organizers claimed that the response had been huge and claimed to had lined up a dozen speakers -- including 5th District congressional candidate Michael J. Cino.
Cino, has attacked conservative Congressman Scott Garrett and the Republican majority in Congress for its "traitorous" votes. Cino runs a group known as the "Red Dogs" who are described as a sort of vanguard in the "rebellion against the establishment." We don't know if there is a relationship between the "Red Shirts" and the "Red Dogs."
The morning of the rally was rainy and the forecast called for a light drizzle. The rally was set expressly "rain or shine" but was canceled a couple hours before it was scheduled to begin "due to weather."
Having explicitly described the rally as "public" in its advertisements, gas-tax-repeal organizers became concerned when they heard that people who didn't agree with them were thinking of attending their public meeting. The gas-tax repealers asked the police to intervene to "segregate" the rally. The gas-tax-repeal camp was asked about the criteria they intended to use to "segregate" members of the public at a public rally. They wouldn't provide a criteria.
A building trades union representing thousands of families in Northwest New Jersey stepped in and obtained its own permit, which lay outside Newton Green. But in the end, it wasn't necessary, because with Newton Green vacated by the gas-tax-repeal organizers of the advertised public rally, the people who they had attempted to keep out had the Green to themselves.
So at 11am on Saturday morning -- instead of the gas-tax-repeal rally that was advertised -- 250 people showed up in support of the Tax Restructuring plan passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. They came to support conservative Republican Steve Oroho, who has been under attack by the Legislature's two most liberal Republicans -- Kip Bateman and Jennifer Beck -- and they came to combat the lies put out by the petroleum lobby that the 23-cent increase applies to home heating oil and baby ointment and polyester clothing. All lies designed to frighten people and to inflame hatred and even violence.
The facts, as provided by the Office of Legislative Services, are that nothing new is taxed and that all the exemptions that were in place remain in place. This means the increase does not apply to home heating oil or baby ointment or polyester clothing. In fact, the law now INCREASES the number of exempt products. We will discuss these additional exemptions in detail in an upcoming column.
Saturday's crowd -- numbering more than 250 -- was made up largely of trade union members and their families, but many local Republicans turned out, including two Sussex County Freeholders and several local elected officials and GOP municipal leaders. About a dozen Pro-Life activists were present as well as that many grassroots Second-Amendment campaigners. About a half dozen people attended who were drawn by the newspaper coverage.
Three speakers addressed the crowd. Rev. Greg Quinlan of the Center for Garden State Families reminded those present that Senator Oroho is a leader in the fight to preserve traditional values in New Jersey and America. He added that those who want to drive Senator Oroho out of office are followers of the two most culturally left-wing members of the GOP in the Legislature and that earlier this week the two had celebrated the deaths of millions of unborn children by honoring the racist memory of eugenicist Margaret Sanger and her Planned Parenthood organization.
Economics professor Murray Sabrin explained how the gas tax is a user tax and that this is a moral form of taxation. The gathering was reminded that President Ronald Reagan, the founder of the modern conservative movement, favored user taxes and used the gas tax to fund road and bridge construction in America. Sabrin went on to remind the audience that those "Red Shirts" who are trying to make the gas tax the big issue of 2017 are doing so to deflect attention away from the real problem tax in New Jersey -- the property tax -- which is a driver of the state's highest in America foreclosure rate. Those who say the gas tax is the problem do so to support the Abbott-system of spending the state revenue from income taxes.
Finally, a union leader from Sussex County reminded the rally that "this was supposed to be their (the petroleum lobby's) rally" and that they had been there to spread lies about the Tax Restructuring plan and hatred for Senator Oroho. He went on to thank the working men and women present from Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties and the thousands of union families they represent who live, work, and vote in the 24th Legislative District. He promised that they would be back again and again and again and again, door-to-door, to carry the message to EVERY household in the 24th District.
The event was topped off with two announcements: First, that Franklin Mayor Nick Giordano, who had been moved to oppose Senator Oroho after listening to the propaganda of "Red Shirt" lies, had written a letter endorsing the Senator and the Tax Restructuring plan. And second, that the Senator's youngest daughter had safely delivered a child. Steve Oroho's new grandson.