The GOP is the natural party of suburban New Jersey.

Matt Rooney is right.  The Democrats’ “unwillingness to end the redistribution of funds from the suburbs to failing urban schools remains the single biggest driver of our state’s nightmarish, neighborhood-killing property taxes.”

The Democrats could – and should – be challenged on their cruel insistence that economically distressed families in suburban and rural New Jersey be made to subsidize rich corporations and wealthy professionals in places like Jersey City and Hoboken.  The tax breaks with which urban Democrat bosses favor contributors to political campaigns are paid for with subsidies from struggling communities throughout New Jersey. 

There is more than enough corporate and professional money in urban New Jersey to cover the education of the children who live there.  If those interested parties were made responsible for the children of their communities the educational systems there would be subject to a greater degree of local oversight and on-the-spot scrutiny by those stakeholders.  Absent that, under the current system of subsidy from afar, those subsidized stakeholders are more than content to allow political corruption to flourish, just so long as they keep getting their discount. 

It is shameful for One Percenters like Phil Murphy, Steve Fulop, Lacey Rzeszowski, and Saily Avelenda to don their pussy hats and try to argue that their tax breaks are about “helping poor children”.  Not when their “philanthropy” is paid for by over-taxed, working class families trying to stay out of foreclosure. There is nothing LIBERAL about screwing over working class families to pay for propping-up corrupt urban political machines. 

As far back as the administration of Governor Jim McGreevey, the Democrats knew that half of the state’s economically disadvantaged children lived outside the over-funded urban Abbott school districts.  More than a decade has passed since the state Supreme Court issued its report on this – and NOTHING has been done to overturn the fundamental unfairness of the state’s system of funding education. 

Since the economic crash of 2008, suburban and rural poverty has grown in New Jersey and throughout the United States.  That’s what the liberal to centrist Brookings Institute has argued in their published studies.  Brookings’ experts also note that, since the 1960’s, most of the nation’s anti-poverty programs have been aimed at the cities.   

Rural and suburban New Jersey lack even the basic infrastructure to help get people back on their feet – on top of which local municipalities are robbed of the property taxes that could help with this.  Everything is taken from them – in the name of the urban poor – but for the use of the One Percent and the corporations they control. 

Corrupt urban political machines, corrupt vendors, rich corporations, and wealthy professionals all make out under the Abbott regime.  The genuinely poor remain trapped in schools that, for all the money spent per pupil, fail to educate their students or prepare them for the working world.  The kids are used as pawns, as an excuse, for the corruption and those getting rich from it.

More than a decade ago a prescient writer by the name of Paul Mulshine argued that the life of every child mattered and that the state needed to provide a uniform baseline of funding.  Instead, the Democrats have ensured that the money continues to miss those poor children living outside the Abbotts, while failing to help those living within the Abbotts. 

The question is, will those currently charged with leading New Jersey Republicans into their next battle recognize these stark facts starring them in the face?  Will they make use of them?  If not for their own political ambitions and those of their party – Republican leaders should be urged to do so on behalf of over-taxed working people, their children, and for the child pawns being used but not served.

New Jersey Republicans face extinction.  Their fighting prowess is minimal.  It has reached the point where any plausible Democrat candidate with a modicum of funding can expect to simply march in and take most of their remaining legislative seats.  Not in Northwest New Jersey mind you, where every Democrat on the ballot was just ruthlessly slaughtered and where the Democrat who challenged Senator Steve Oroho in 2017 lost her school board seat.  This is where the pussy hats run into a phalanx of flannel shirts (and those are the women!).  

In his column (https://savejersey.com/2018/11/n-j-republicans-are-letting-sweeney-appropriate-their-strongest-argument-rooney/), Matt Rooney raises the question of whether Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick is up to the task of fighting the Democrats next year.  Whether he is a “wartime consiglieri” or not.  We hope that he is, but at the present, he appears to be more concerned about how he is perceived within the “bubbles” of Trenton and Westfield (whose median income is double that of Sussex County). 

Assembly Leader Bramnick would do well to break out of this bubble.  “Bubble land” doesn’t understand America.  It is too rich, too privileged, too unconcerned with the basics of shelter and debt to worry about those who are.  Bubble land never understood the rise of Donald Trump.  Never got the levels of pain and disappointment that the eight gray years of Barack Obama brought to those working class people who voted for him in 2008.  They put it down to “racism” when it was really about the threat of foreclosure – of losing… everything.

We urge Jon Bramnick and the other leaders of the NJGOP to embark on an experiment in listening and learning.  Not the usual photo-op in Newark… go to where the new poverty is.  Visit a food pantry in what everyone thinks is a middle class town.  Watch the people who once had a good job, with benefits and a pension, but who now work three without.  Notice the high priced automobiles, now over a decade old.  Drive around and take note of the “for sale” signs.  Visit an encampment of working people who have lost their homes.

This isn’t a time for rallying around a corrupt Establishment that – uses poor people as an excuse to rape working people to make rich people richer.  No matter how you personally feel about the Democrats responsible, these are bad policies and they must be challenged.  The choice must be one of clear-blue-water between the parties.  Again, if not for your own political ambitions and those of your party, do it for the over-taxed working people, for their children, and for the child pawns being used but not served.

Matt Rooney makes the point very clearly:  “Taxpayers want an advocate… not a mediator.”  Amen.

William J Hayden: Do You Agree With President Trump That Americans Should Come First?

**William J. Hayden is the Vice President of Skylands Tea Party**

In society we protect what we love and care for. 
Our families are protected at night by a minimum of a locked door. And by possibly a weapon of some type.
The rich and connected, have fences, security systems, and armed guards.
And in all instances, we want to know who we are letting in, before they come in, for our protection. 
Our banks, and government buildings all protected as well. And in many instances again, you have to show who you are, or at least show you are not a threat.

So why would we let people into this country without knowing who they are?  
After all, this country is our collective home. We all live here, we should all know that those coming here are at least not a threat. 

Here is a stat that should put things into perspective as to why we want to know who is here.

95% of foreign nationals in federal prison are illegal aliens 

Actually 23% of all federal inmates are illegal

Your safety should be #1 and illegal immigration is unsafe

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Liberal think-tank: NJ gets $9 Billion Fed Tax cut in 2019

While Democrat Congressman Josh Gottheimer has been engaging in histrionics of the most dubious kind, a liberal think-tank has been doing its research and calculations.  What it's come up with undermines the hysterics put out by Nancy Pelosi, Gottheimer, and his status-quo allies in the "problem keepers" caucus.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a liberal advocacy group, recently concluded that New Jersey would save nearly $9 billion in federal taxes in 2019, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Please review their findings yourself by clicking here for a spreadsheet with their analysis: https://t.co/GW6n37OXUn

Contrary to what Nancy Pelosi, Gottheimer, and the "problem keepers" have been saying, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy concludes that New Jersey will pay less in federal taxes under the new tax reform and job creation legislation passed by Congress.  The study includes these key findings:

- New Jersey residents will save nearly $9 billion in federal taxes in 2019;

- 81% of New Jersey residents will receive a tax cut and a further 8% would see no change in their taxes at all;

- The vast majority of taxpayers in every personal income bracket will see a tax cut, with most receiving a substantial tax cut;

- The average taxpayer in New Jersey will get a tax cut of more than $2,000.

Along with 81% of taxpayers getting a tax cut, small businesses are going to pay much less.  It will be the lowest tax rate since World War II -- drawing in new investment for the expansion of existing enterprises, allowing new start-ups, creating thousands upon thousands of new jobs and opportunities.  With billions less going from New Jersey to Washington, that money will be freed up to spend in our communities.

Even before the new tax reform and job creation legislation was passed, there was a sustained positive reaction from companies with local employees -- like OceanFirst Bank, AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo, Boeing, and Bank of America -- providing bonuses and pay-hikes to their employees.  These businesses are already using their anticipated savings to invest in their employees for the future, and it is clear that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is going to put more money in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers in New Jersey.

The doom and gloom coming from Nancy Pelosi, Gottheimer, and the "problem keepers" only works if you distort the figures.  The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy study makes clear that the doom and gloomers make sense only if you allow them to erroneously assume that Congress will allow the tax cuts to expire -- and even then this is only true for tax years beginning in 2027. 

Nancy Pelosi, Gottheimer, and the "problem keepers" are arguing in the face of history, which has taught us consistently that politicians who want to be re-elected -- even liberal Democrats like President Obama -- do not end tax cuts when faced with the option, but rather, extend them.  And with the broad consensus being that middle-class tax cuts must be made permanent (even Bernie Sanders says so) there is little chance that the scenario upon which Pelosi, Gottheimer, and the "problem keepers" base their doom and gloom will, in fact, ever materialize.

Instead of the drunken hysterics and all the mental illness being shopped around by the media about this (when they are not focused on a royal wedding or the latest installment of who touched who) interested citizens should be doing their own research and soberly studying the changes and benefits in the new tax reform and job creation package.  It will be well worth the time spent.

Phoebus fires staff for Thanksgiving

"Your services are no longer required.  Your position is hereby terminated, effective immediately."  (Gail Phoebus to her employees)

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!

Assemblyperson Gail Phoebus sent terse, one paragraph letters to the career civil servants at her legislative office staff and fired them all.  In their place, she is hiring personal friends with no legislative qualifications and questionable backgrounds in the skills needed to handle constituent services.

We haven't seen this kind of indifference to the humanity of employees since Leona Helmsley -- the Queen of Mean! 

It also marks another flip-flop or lie by Phoebus.  When Alison Littell McHose announced that she would not be seeking re-election in 2015, Phoebus personally solicited the support of legislative staff members with the promise that their jobs were safe with Phoebus as their new boss.  Apparently that promise wasn't worth very much, as it has now been broken.

Phoebus refused to meet with her employees before firing them, did not provide a reason for their firing, and did not give them notice face-to-face.  The firings did not provide for the customary two-week notice. 

One source described Phoebus' actions as a "cruel and undiplomatic way of thanking loyal employees."  Another noted that Phoebus' friends need and want the money and the taxpayer-funded benefits (health care and pension), so she's put them before the needs of her constituents. 

Either way, Assemblyperson Gail Phoebus has made for a miserable Thanksgiving for her employees' families.  That's not very nice.

What's up with Jay Webber?

Assemblyman Jay Webber looks the part of a statesman.  Central casting, send us a Governor!  But looks are not always reality.

On October 14, 2014, the Star-Ledger published a column by Assemblyman Webber.  Its title was "Fixing transportation and taxes together."  Jay Webber was writing about how to raise the gas tax, while offsetting that tax increase with cuts to other taxes.  He zeroed in on the estate tax:

"NEW JERSEY leaders are grappling with three major problems: First, New Jersey has the worst tax burden in the nation. Two, New Jersey's economy suffers from sluggish growth. And third, our state's Transportation Trust Fund is out of money. There is a potential principled compromise that can help solve all of them.

Of the three problems, the Transportation Trust Fund has been getting the most attention lately, and for good reason: It's broke. There is just no money in it to maintain and improve our vital infrastructure. Without finding a solution, we risk watching our roads and bridges grow unsafe and unusable and hinder movement of people and goods throughout the state. That, of course, will exacerbate our state's slow economic growth.

...we should insist that if any tax is raised to restore the TTF, it be coupled with the elimination of a tax that is one of our state's biggest obstacles to economic growth: the death tax. By any measure, New Jersey is the most extreme outlier on the death tax, with worst-in-the-nation status...

New Jersey's death tax is not a concern for the wealthy alone, as many misperceive. We are one of only two states with both an estate and inheritance tax. New Jersey's estate-tax threshold of $675,000, combined with a tax rate as high as 16 percent, means that middle-class families with average-sized homes and small retirement savings are hit hard by the tax.

It also means the tax affects small businesses or family farms of virtually any size, discouraging investment and growth among our private-sector job creators. Compounding the inequity is that government already has taxed the assets subject to the death tax when the money was earned. Because of our onerous estate and inheritance taxes, Forbes magazine lists New Jersey as a place "Not to Die" in 2014.

That's a problem, and it's one our sister states are trying hard not to duplicate. A recent study by Connecticut determined that states with no estate tax created twice as many jobs and saw their economies grow 50 percent more than states with estate taxes. That research prompted Connecticut and many states to reform their death taxes. New York just lowered its death tax, and several other states have eliminated theirs.

The good news is that New Jersey's leaders finally are realizing that our confiscatory death tax is a big deal. A bipartisan coalition of legislators has shown its support for reforming New Jersey's death tax..."

Unfortunately, when the time came for Jay Webber to be counted as part of that bipartisan coalition, he couldn't be counted on.  Jay got scared off by the lobbyist arm of the petroleum industry and what's worse is that he's now attacking those who did what he advocated doing only a short time ago.  And it only makes it worse that he's so darn pompous about it.

It was the same way back when Jay Webber was NJGOP chairman and he didn't have it in him to stand up to Governor Christie over the state party adopting the national Republican Party platform.  Not only did Jay fail to stand up for the principles of our party, he failed to defend those who did, and even attacked those who wouldn't sell out.

There's a lot more too, but this isn't about bashing Jay Webber, this is about a request for some humility.  Look, we all understand that sometimes people can't do what they said others should do -- but that doesn't mean that you kick at them and play holier-than-thou when they follow your advice and do it.

Now in fairness to Jay he did write these words in that column two years ago:  "Any gas-tax increase should be accompanied by measures that will help alleviate, or at least not increase, the overall tax burden on New Jerseyans."  And it is these words on which Jay is basing his current bout of ill temper.

Jay Webber thinks the bipartisan tax restructuring package worked out by the legislative leaders (minus Senator Kean Jr.) and the Governor will result in a net tax increase.  Others, like Senator Steve Oroho, disagree with him.  Now Jay is a lawyer and by all accounts a good lawyer.  Steve is a numbers man. He's a certified financial planner and CPA.  Before beginning his career of public service, Steve Oroho was a senior financial officer for S&P 500 companies like W. R. Grace and  Young & Rubicam.  Now you take your advice from whom you think best.

There is one word you won't find in Jay Webber's 730-word column.  That word is debt.  Yep... D-E-B-T.  Because there are a whole lot of Republicans who don't think on that word too much.  To their minds we can spend and spend and leave it for another generation to pay. 

We hope that Jay Webber isn't one of these Debt & Spend Republicans.  There sure is a lot of it going around.  They think that never voting to raise a tax makes you a conservative, but that's just silly.  Conservatives, real conservatives, balance their expenditures with their revenue.  They enter into debt for long term projects only when they have a plan and the means to pay it back.  Real conservatives don't starve revenue for political points while piling debt upon debt.  That's not being conservative, that's being bankrupt.

If Assemblyman Webber is truly determined to take on what he describes as New Jersey's "worst tax burden in the nation," he's going to need to focus on the state's highest in the nation property taxes.  It is the state's property taxes that gives it the highest foreclosure rate in America.

To do that, New Jersey is going to have to take a step that Jay Webber, as a lawyer, might find distasteful.  New Jersey is going to have to elect its State Supreme Court.  It was the unelected Supreme Court that seized the Legislature's power nearly 40 years ago and with it the people's income tax revenue. It is the unelected Supreme Court that to this day uses that money to its ends and not for the ends promised to the people, namely property tax relief.  And because this money is wasted, New Jersey must have the highest property taxes in America to pay for the education  of its children.   

Until you wrest away that money by voting them out of office, you will never have a low tax, low debt, and prosperous state.