At yesterday's back to back press conferences at the State House in Trenton, GOP Senators Jennifer Beck and Mike Doherty joined with Democrat Senator Ray "Lord of Ass" Lesniak and Democrat Assemblyman John Wisniewski in opposing a plan that would give retirees an average $1,200 tax cut and phase out that destroyer of small businesses and family farms, the estate tax, while preventing an increase in property taxes to pay for local road and bridge repairs and maintenance.
Beck and Doherty have their own plan, also supported by GOP Senator Gerald Cardinale, that freezes property tax relief to local governments for seven years and borrows heavily to run the state deeper into debt. The Beck plan makes no tax cuts -- something the state teachers' union agrees with -- and leaves New Jersey's tax structure the worst in the region for retirees and the worst in the nation to grow a business and create jobs.
By refusing to fund roads and bridges through a petroleum-based user tax, the Beck plan gives out-of-state drivers a free ride while pushing the costs of maintenance and repair onto property taxpayers and future generations. Groups like AFP, which is funded by the petroleum industry, support Beck and Doherty, as do liberal organizations like the New Jersey Education Association and the Sierra Club.
When it comes to opposing the phase out of the Estate Tax, Liberal Assemblyman Wisniewski and talk show host Bill Spadea are both adamantly opposed. They part company on a user tax on gasoline, with Wisniewski in support of an increase in the current tax, whereas Spadea would rather see no tax on gasoline at all and instead a substantial property tax increase to pay for roads and bridges.
All this is bound to have ramifications for the 2017 elections -- with the primaries now less than a year away. How would retired voters behave if individual legislators voted against their $1,200 tax cut? What would the effect be if it failed to become law and the state's retirees saw their $1,200 tax cut taken away?
In Jennifer Beck's District 11, 48 percent of all registered Republicans are aged 60 or over. Just 20 percent are under age 45. 66 percent of Republican super voters (3 of 4 or above) are aged 60 or over.
42 percent of all registered Republicans in Mike Doherty's District 23 are aged 60 or over. Just 21 percent are under age 45. 58 percent of Republican super voters (3 of 4 or above) are aged 60 or over.
In Senator Cardinale's District 39, 47 percent of all registered Republicans are aged 60 or over. Just 18 percent are under age 45. 64 percent of Republican super voters (3 of 4 or above) are aged 60 or over.
Can these legislators afford to vote against a tax cut for retirees?